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Chinese warships closed in on the Alaskan coast for the first time while President Obama was in the region warning of climate change.

Three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious ship headed toward the Aleutian Islands in recent days, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The “first” for the Chinese navy happened while president Obama was visiting Exit Glacier on Tuesday. The Chinese vessels skirted international waters controlled by the U.S. and Russia.

“This would be a first in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands. I don’t think we’d characterize anything they’re doing as threatening,” a defense official told the Journal. “It’s difficult to tell exactly, but it indicates some interest in the Arctic region. It’s different.”

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On Tuesday, the president visited Exit Glacier, which has reportedly receded close to 200 feet in the last year. He said it was “as good of a signpost of what we’re dealing with when it comes to climate change as just about anything.”

Obama started his trip by telling Native American communities that he was renaming Mount McKinley “Denali,” its Athabascan name.

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