Chinese navy ships this week were spotted off the coast of Alaska for the first time.
The discovery came the same week China held a massive military parade in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender during World War II -- and highlights its ambition to become a global military power.
A Pentagon official on Friday declined to identify the names of the vessels but said they included three combatant ships, one amphibious landing vessel and one replenishment ship.
The People's Liberation Army's navy sent similar vessels to a joint war exercise, called Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, last year off the coasts of Hawaii and California.
They included the destroyer Haikou (DD 171), frigate Yueyang (FF 575), replenishment ship Qiandaohu (AO 886), hospital ship Peace Ark (T-AH 886) and an uninvited spy ship called the Beijixing (851), according to the Defense Department. Other Chinese military hardware that participated in the event included the Z-8 Changhe and Z-9 Harbin helicopters.
Below are a few of the Pentagon images of the Chinese combatants and replenishment ship that participated in RIMPAC 2014.
Combatant: Haikou (DD 171)
A boarding team from the People's Liberation Army (Navy) Haikou (DD 171) makes way toward the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche (WMSL 751) July, 16, 2014, in the Pacific Ocean during a Maritime Interdiction Operations Exercise (MIOEX) as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. (U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)
Combatant: Yueyang (FF 575)
Crew members aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche (WMSL 751) and crew members aboard the People's Liberation Army (Navy) PLA(N) ship Yueyang (FF 575) conduct a hand-line transfer exercise, on July 24, 2014, in the Pacific Ocean during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. (U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery)
Replenishment: Qiandaohu (AO 886)
The People's People's Liberation Army (Navy) replenishment ship Qiandaohu (AO 886) departs for the at-sea portion of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) on July 14, 2014, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Sorensen)