The sight of the ships comes just as President Obama ends his three-day visit to Alaska to raise awareness about climate change.
The U.S. has been tracking the flotilla – made up of three combat ships, a resupply ship and an amphibious ship – for days.
The Heritage Foundation’s Cheng said the presence of the ships in the Bering Sea sent a message ahead of Xi’s visit, which has been preceded by threats of U.S. action over cyber attacks.
The Pentagon has not detected any threatening activity from the Chinese navy vessels in the Bering Sea, the White House said on Wednesday.
The reported Chinese activity is seen as the latest sign of China’s ambitions to project its influence beyond its territorial waters.
“It’s hard to tell exactly, but it indicates some interest in the Arctic region”, the official said.
Obama also pushed for more American icebreaker ships, which can travel the route even in the winter, as the US looks to compete with Russian Federation for influence in the Arctic.
It was believed to be the first time Chinese military ships have been spotted in the area and is another sign of China’s global presence expanding far beyond its own shores.
Scott Harold said if any ships participating in that exercise steamed toward the Bering Sea afterward, they’d be near the Aleutian islands right about now.
China on Thursday will assert its army may with a big parade commemorating the top of World War II.
While the world’s two largest economies have important mutual interests, like trying to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program, disagreements exist between them including over China’s claims in the South China Sea.
Xi is expected to spend about a week in the United States during the second half of September.