Britain is ramping up its stand-off with China by deploying its only aircraft carrier to the South China Sea
Britain is deploying its flagship aircraft carrier to the South China Sea, with British and US F-35 fighter jets aboard, in the UK’s biggest mission yet to the region.
It escalates a tense situation, as China fiercely asserts that the sea is its territory, and that other naval vessels sailing there is an assault on their rights.
The UK and US disagree, saying that the South China Sea is international water, which anybody can sail through.
Britain and the US have been conducting naval exercises in the region for years, and often provoke angry responses from Beijing.
Last summer, Britain sailed HMS Albion, an amphibious assault ship, through the contested waterway. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first aircraft carrier to be sent, a significant upgrade.
Britain has announced plans to send its newest and most powerful aircraft carrier to the South China Sea, intensifying an already-tense stand-off with China over who controls the waterway.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, in a speech Monday morning.
The mission, announced at the the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London on Monday, marks the most significant deployment yet of Royal Navy assets to the South China Sea.
In August 2018, China criticised the “provocative actions” of HMS Albion who sailed close to the disputed Paracel islands in the South China Sea, which China says are its territory.
The Queen Elizabeth’s mission is likely to provoke a similar response.
Williamson said that Royal Air Force F-35 fighter jets will be aboard the Queen Elizabeth, along with F-35s from the US military.
The Queen Elizabeth, which cost some $4.5 billion, recently qualified for full-fledged service, after completing training with F-35B jets near Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, in September 2018.
After conducting the South China Sea mission, Williamson said the …read more
Source:: Business Insider