In an unusual move, four U.S. warships were dispatched to the Aleutian Islands after a group of 11 Russian and Chinese warships was discovered operating in Alaskan waters. Republican Alaska Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski confirmed the presence of the foreign vessels and highlighted the significance of the situation.
In the joint statement, Senator Sullivan expressed his concern over the Chinese and Russian naval operations, noting that such cooperation is an unprecedented occurrence.
“First, this is unprecedented, not just for Alaska, but for America to have 11 warships jointly being operated by the Chinese and Russians — who are increasingly working together — essentially doing freedom of navigation and navigation operations incursions into Alaska’s area,” Sullivan said according to Alaska News Source.
The incident marks an improvement in the U.S. response compared to a similar event the previous summer in which the Chinese and Russian navies maneuvered off the Alaskan coast. Senator Sullivan voiced his satisfaction with the more robust reaction this time, as opposed to the “tepid” previous response from the U.S. government, emphasizing the importance of protecting vital national interests. (RELATED: Two Navy Sailors Charged with Funneling Defense Secrets to Chineses Agents)
“I was heartened to see that this latest incursion was met with four U.S. Navy destroyers, which sends a strong message to Xi Jinping and Putin that the United States will not hesitate to protect and defend our vital national interests in Alaska.”
Senator Murkowski joined in emphasizing the strategic location of Alaska near foreign adversaries China and Russia. She stressed the pivotal role Alaska plays in national defense and territorial sovereignty, calling for increased investment in the military’s capacity and capabilities within the state.
“This is a stark reminder of Alaska’s proximity to both China and Russia, as well as the essential role our state plays in our national defense and territorial sovereignty. Incursions like this are why we are working so hard to secure funding and resources to expand our military’s capacity and capabilities in Alaska, and why our colleagues must join us in supporting those investments.”