UK Warns China Against Obstructing Navigation In South China Sea
The United Kingdom warns the Chinese Navy against obstructing its fleet in the South China Sea ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth docking in Japan.
The United Kingdom army announced Tuesday that a powerful navy task force would visit five ports in Japan in September, warning China against any threats concerning freedom of navigation in the region’s tense seas.
UK officials said during a visit by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to Tokyo that after exercises with allied navies, the group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, will pay visits to five Japanese ports in September.
Moreover, the offshore patrol vessels HMS Spey and HMS Tamar will start a permanent deployment to the region next month. It was announced that they would be supported by Australian, Japanese, and Singaporean ships.
UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace stated in an interview with The Times that the United Kingdom has a duty to stress freedom of navigation when a group of its ships - the most powerful navy task force in a generation - passes through the South China Sea toward Japan.
In parallel, Beijing asserts its sovereignty over the majority of the South China Sea islands, which has angered many countries that have declared their right to have access to the waters adjacent to its territory and prompted the objection of other countries, including the United States.
Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi endorsed his British counterpart after their meeting, "We reconfirmed our shared position that we firmly oppose attempts to change the status quo by coercion and the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific based on rule of law," Kishi said.