A Chinese spy ship is lurking off the coast of Hawaii during the largest international maritime exercise known as RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific), U.S. officials tell Fox News.
It’s not immediately clear where the Chinese vessel is located, but officials say it’s in international waters (more than 12 nautical miles away), and not impacting the exercises.
According to the Navy, “26 nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 27 to Aug. 2, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.”
A senior Chilean official said it was “disappointing” Chinese would send a spy ship after being omitted from the maritime exercise this year. (China had participated in 2014 and 2016.)
Said the combined forces maritime component commander, Chilean Commodore Pablo Nieman: “For me as CFMCC, it is very disappointing that the presence of a non-participating ship could disrupt the exercise. I hope and expect all seafarers to act professionally so we may continue to focus on the work at hand and building on the spirit of cooperation that gives purpose to this exercise.”
“The U.S. Pacific Fleet has been monitoring a Chinese Navy surveillance ship operating in the vicinity of Hawaii outside U.S. territorial seas. We expect this ship will remain outside of U.S. territorial seas and not operate in a manner that disrupts the ongoing Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise,” said a Pacific Fleet spokesman.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews