Days ago, the media reported that on September 19, a formation of Chinese and Russian-flagged warships sailed into US territorial waters near Alaska, in the Bering Sea.

A U.S. Navy patrol ship, a 400-foot cruiser named Kimball, discovered three Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels sailing 85 miles north of Kiska island in Alaska.

During the sighting, a C-130 Hercules aircraft provided air support for the Kimball.

One of the Chinese ships was identified as a newly built Type 055 missile destroyer. It is about 590 feet long and is designed to adopt modern air-to-air, anti-missile, anti-ship, and anti-submarine warfare systems. It is considered one of the most modern and powerful in the Chinese navy.

The ships remained in formation alongside the Chinese cruiser, then dispersed.

Nathan Moore, commander of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District stated, “While the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and standards, we will meet presence with presence to ensure there is no disruption to U.S. interests in the maritime environment around Alaska.” 

Operation Frontier Sentinel requires compliance with “presence with presence” when strategic competitors operate in and around U.S. waters.

The interest in the Arctic on the part of China and Russia is becoming more visible, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned a month ago.

Russia reopened hundreds of Soviet-era military posts in the Arctic and built new ones, including airfields and deep-water ports.

China in turn is planning to build the world’s largest icebreaker.

Stoltenberg said, “Beijing and Moscow have also pledged to step up practical cooperation in the Arctic. This is part of a deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values ​​and interests.”

In early September, Russia and China launched large-scale military exercises involving other allied countries in the so-called Vostok 2022. These took place in the Far East of Russia and in the Sea of ​​Japan with a deployment of more than 50,000 troops and 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.

India was one of the participants in the maneuvers, which despite having a strong stance on China, maintains good economic and political relations with Russia.

The game of looking for allies

Tensions rise on the world chessboard and manifest themselves in the diplomatic and military spheres.

Military exercises in the Pacific and the South China Sea are repeated in an effort to show their war capabilities and maintain their position.

On September 26, off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. and South Korea began a series of drills employing more than 20 ships from the U.S. and South Korean navies, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, a U.S. cruiser and several South Korean and American destroyers. The exercises included fighter jets and helicopters. 

The Korean navy statement said the goal of the four-day exercises is to demonstrate the allies’ “powerful determination to respond to North Korea’s provocations” and enhance their ability to conduct joint naval operations.

A day before the naval exercises, North Korea launched a ballistic missile that crashed about 370 miles off South Korea’s coast. This type of weapon is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and is highly maneuverable. 

More launches like this are expected as North Korea sees the American exercises as a direct threat.

Apparently they are not the only ones in the area that are worried.

Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration, China, announced through a shipping safety report that from 4 pm on September 25 to 4 pm on October 2, military missions will be carried out in the northern region of the West China Sea. Ships are prohibited from entering the designated training area. Details of the military mission are unknown.

For decades, Japan has been threatened by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which has consistently launched a series of air and missile threats at Japanese and American forces on Japanese soil.

During the Chinese military exercises that simulated the blockade of Taiwan, the PLA fired missiles that hit Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which led the Japan-US alliance to consider an expansion in defenses against missile and air attacks.

Recovering friends

In an effort to counteract China’s influence in the Pacific, U.S. President Joe Biden received at a summit the  leaders and representatives from Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa , Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Nauru, Australia and New Zealand. Although the main theme is collaboration in the fight against climate change, the coronavirus, and economic development, Biden wants to show his commitment to the Pacific islands, to regain weight in the region that the United States was losing due to lack of interest in end of the Cold War, a vacuum that the CCP quickly took advantage of.

Plans for the summit were announced shortly after the Solomon Islands asked the United States and Britain not to send warships to their territory until approval processes were reviewed. The Solomon Islands signed a new security pact with China in April, and both the Americans and the British are concerned that this pact could lead to the construction of a Chinese naval base roughly 1,200 miles off the Australian coast.

The war in Ukraine has shown that in the quicksand field of geopolitics the variables are numerous and friends and enemies change according to the wind of their own interests. Rumors of disagreement between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping regarding this war could change the world scenario and define another future. 

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