A People’s Liberation Army Navy auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship was spotted in international waters off Hawaii while the sea phase of international maritime warfare exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 is underway.
United States Navy Pacific Fleet spokesman Captain Charlie Brown confirmed the presence of Chinese ship since July 11 to USNI News on July 13.
“We expect the ship will remain outside the territorial seas of the U.S. and not operate in a manner that disrupts ongoing RIMPAC exercise,” Captain Brown said as quoted by USNI News. “We’ve taken all precautions necessary to protect our critical information. The ship’s presence has not affected the conduct of the exercise.”
RIMPAC 2018 maritime component commander Commodore Pablo Niemann of Armada de Chile said, as quoted by Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “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,” Commodore Niemann added.
This is not the first time China sent a spy ship to RIMPAC.
Sources: http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/07/12/breaking-news/china-sends-spy-ship-to-rimpac/; https://news.usni.org/2018/07/13/navy-chinese-spy-ship-monitoring-rimpac-exercise