Britain Risks China’s Wrath By Sailing Biggest Warship Into South China Sea
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently on exercises in the sea and is set to risk further Chinese wrath for challenging their claim to control vast swathes of the area.
The £3 billion Royal Navy aircraft carrier is currently taking part in wargames in the southern reaches of the South China Sea, involving eight ships, including three from Singapore.
China claims almost all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its territory.
In response, the United States and its allies including the UK sail warships through the sea in freedom of navigation operations to challenge its claim, angering Beijing.
China’s hackles have already been raised, with one military commentator issuing a warning in state mouthpiece Global Times to Britain to stay away.
“If the UK wants to provoke the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the South China Sea, it will inevitably lead to strong countermeasures from China,” said Song Zhongping.
“An old saying in China goes that if you want to punish someone, you need to consider saving face for his big brother.
“However, what China will do is just the opposite: China will make it clear to the US that London will be punished by acting like Washington’s running dog in provoking Beijing.”
He was joined by Chinese defence spokesman Tan Kefei who said “the real source of miltarisation” in the region was countries “sending their warships thousands of kilometres from home to flex muscles”.
“The Chinese military will take necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interest as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he said.
But the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin has hit back at China’s territorial claim.
“Beijing’s claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea has no basis in international law,” he said.
“That assertion treads on the sovereignty of states in the region. We continue to support the region’s coastal states in upholding their rights under international law.”
The 65,000 tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth symbolically passed through the Singapore Strait on Monday to enter the South China Sea, where it will be in range of China’s hypersonic “carrier killer” missiles.
The ship on its first deployment at the heart of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, which is on a 28 week tour of 40 countries.
It next undertake a series of multinational exercises in the Philippine Sea and will return to Singapore later in the year.
HMS Albion was the last UK warship to enter the South China Sea, back in 2018, and was challenged by a Chinese frigate and two helicopters.
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