When the United States Navy conducted a test of the THAAD missile defense system from a base in Alaska this week, it appears American eyes were not the only ones watching the demonstration, as reports are flying in of a Chinese spy vessel spotted about a 100 miles out to sea.
The question is, what were they doing there?
CNN reported that the Chinese spy ship had been sailing in the international waters off the coast of Alaska for several days. The vessel had arrived “shortly before the test of a US missile defense system.”
That exercise proved successful, according to CNBC. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile test was able to strike “an intermediate-range ballistic missile in the Pacific Ocean.”
So, the Chinese spy ship got a show its commanders in Beijing might not have enjoyed.
“U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Miller, spokesperson for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the ship is believed to be a ‘communications’ or ‘intelligence’ vessel and confirmed it has been in the area for the last few days,” CNN reported, adding that Miller did not offer any reason as to why the ship was there.
The Chinese vessel did seem to be operating legally, so the United States does not have any security concerns about it’s positioning. However, it is widely believed that the ship was there to “spy” on the missile test because China is alarmed about the United States preparing to possibly use the THAAD missile against North Korea.
Chinese officials are worried about the combined United States and South Korea decision to use the THAAD missile in the Korean Peninsula because it could be used to target Chinese missiles, CNN reported. Yet both the U.S. and South Korea are adamant that the THAAD system is intended for defense against North Korea.
A U.S. official also confirmed that a similar Chinese spy ship had been seen sailing off the coast of Guam and “shadowing a joint U.S.-Australia military exercise named Talisman Saber.” That official noted that this kind of behavior from China was “unusual.”
Still, it does seem that China’s mode of operation has been to observe the United States, possibly as part of a longer-range goal. One defector recently claimed that China had been smuggling agents into the country for years as part of a larger plan.
Time will tell what China will do with all of their “possible” spying activities.
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H/T Drudge Now