Chinese Navy Ships off Alaska Coast Highlights Need To Avoid 'Miscalculations,' General Says

First Time U.S. Military Has Seen Chinese Navy Operate in Bering Sea

Dempsey said that the more China asserts itself, “the more they are likely to interact with us and the more responsibility we both have to avoid miscalculation and interactions that could be unsafe at sea and in the air.”

“It tells me we should be more engaged with them and it tells me that we have to help allow China to become peaceful and prosperous and rise economically without becoming threatening” to U.S. allies in the region, Dempsey said, also noting that the U.S. has five alliances in the Pacific region “and we intend to live up those alliances.”

More of General Dempsey's interview will air this Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that the vessels had recently entered the Bering Sea and were operating in international waters north of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.

The vessels were tracked by the U.S. moving northeast towards the Bering Sea where the official says the U.S. continues to monitor their operations.

The official says it is unclear for what specific purpose China may have moved the ship’s into the Bering Sea but said "they’re being there indicates an interest in the Arctic region."

The Arctic Circle begins south of the Bering Strait about 600 to 700 miles north of where the Chinese ships are currently located in the Bering Sea.