The situation in the South China Sea this week heated up with the arrival of the British aircraft carrier group HMS Queen Elizabeth, a group of US ships passing through the Taiwan Strait, and the Chinese military conducting exercises.
The British aircraft carrier group HMS Queen Elizabeth is in the spotlight, prompting Chinese newspapers and diplomats to accuse Britain of causing trouble in the South China Sea at the behest of the US. The UK has not officially acknowledged the presence of an aircraft carrier strike group in the South China Sea, but a series of photos posted on the British Navy’s website show US Marines jets accompanying them. British group of ships displayed data about the South China Sea.
“A free and open Indo-Pacific has a vital role to play in ensuring great prosperity for the region and the world,” the photos were captioned.
The British Ministry of Defense said the group of aircraft carriers was the largest gathering of air and sea forces deployed in a generation.
Ten US F-35s are carried on board the aircraft carrier, under an agreement between Washington and London to divide tasks and coordinate operations. A US Navy destroyer and a Dutch frigate joined the escort of the British aircraft carrier.
The group of ships departed from the UK in May and is expected to reach South Korea and Japan before returning home this autumn.
Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, called the British carrier group’s trip an attempt to “relive the glory days of the British Empire”.
“The latest voyage of the British aircraft carrier group Queen Elizabeth is not as simple as what London calls a passage through the South China Sea according to international law, but a carefully prepared ploy to fulfill many purposes,”.
“It’s no secret that Britain is complicit in the South China Sea issue, following America’s lead and dancing,”.
In a speech in Singapore on July 27, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the voyage of the HMS Queen Elizabeth group of ships was “historic” and condemned China’s illegal claims on most of the land. throughout the South China Sea.
Mr. Austin said that the deployment of the British aircraft carrier group not only demonstrates the partnership with Washington, but also with countries inside and outside the region.
“I’m especially excited to see that our friends are building stronger security ties with each other, forging more partnerships to repel aggression,”.
A statement from the British High Commissioner to Singapore said that the British aircraft carrier group was arriving to participate in multilateral exercises in the Philippine Sea.
As the British aircraft carrier group was passing through the South China Sea, a group of US Navy ships brought together two classes of warships for the first time to the area.
The US 7th Fleet said in a statement that the combination of the littoral combat ship USS Tulsa and the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd marks the first time the two classes of warships have come together to form a group. action on the water.
On July 28, another US destroyer, the USS Benfold, passed through the Taiwan Strait, which is near the northern gateway to the South China Sea. This is the 7th trip across the Taiwan Strait that the US has made since the beginning of the year.
This week, China also flexed its muscles in this area.
Two areas in the northern part of the South China Sea were restricted from ships this week for the Chinese Navy’s exercises.
“While China’s military exercises do not involve the British ships directly, they demonstrate that the Chinese military has a high combat readiness capability,”