U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska) released the following statements regarding the 11 foreign military vessels from China and Russia operating near the Aleutian Islands.
“We have been in close contact with leadership from Alaska Command for several days now and received detailed classified briefings about the foreign vessels that are transiting U.S. waters in the Aleutians,” said Senator Murkowski. “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.”
“The incursion by 11 Chinese and Russian warships operating together – off the coast of Alaska – is yet another reminder that we have entered a new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow,” said Senator Sullivan. “In recognition of this reality and our state’s unrivaled strategic location, for years, I’ve been pressing the Navy and each successive administration to commit to a greater Naval, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps presence in Alaska, more Arctic-capable vessels, and more infrastructure to host these assets, like the deep-water port of Nome.
“Last summer the Chinese and Russian navies conducted a similar operation off the coast of Alaska. Given that our response was tepid, I strongly encouraged senior military leaders to be ready with a much more robust response should such another joint Chinese/Russian naval operation occur off our coast. For that reason, 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.”