UK to send Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to Japan, S Korea
Category: News & PoliticsVia: hallux • 3 weeks ago • 13 comments
By: SOURCE: AL JAZEERA, REUTERS
Winds of war on the horizon?
The United Kingdom’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will lead a flotilla of Royal Navy ships through Asian waters on port visits to Japan and South Korea on its maiden deployment, the British embassy in Tokyo has announced, as Australia warned of threats of conflict in the region.
The high-profile voyage, announced by the British embassy on Monday, is aimed at bolstering security ties in East Asia and comes amid tensions in the region as concern grows in Japan over any threat posed to neighbouring Taiwan by China, as well as increased tensions in the disputed South China Sea.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden issued a joint statement this month addressing China’s growing assertiveness and the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait following their first face-to-face meeting in Washington since both became leaders of their countries.
The British carrier strike group which includes the Queen Elizabeth and 18 F-35B stealth fighters, two destroyers, two frigates and two support ships will have to sail through the South China Sea on its way to East Asia. China claims almost the entire sea while Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam also claim parts of it.
It will be joined by vessels from the United States and a frigate from the Netherlands and will carry out exercises with forces from Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, the UAE, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, India, Oman and South Korea, the British government said in a statement.
Other foreign ships currently in Asian waters include a French amphibious carrier and two US navy aircraft carriers, one of which, the USS Ronald Reagan, is based in Japan.
On Friday, Japan announced that it would also host a military drill with the US and France from May 11 to 17 .