Five Chinese naval vessels came within 12 nautical miles of the U.S. this week, a Pentagon official said Friday. The ships did not violate any international laws, because they were traveling under what’s known as “innocent passage” rules. “By all accounts and by all indications, they’re going home,” the U.S. official said, pointing to the end of a joint Russian-Chinese training exercise. Retired Navy officials, however, say the passage near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands may be a sign that China is trying to establish itself as a force in growing commercial activity in the Arctic.
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