Britain Is Planning to Send an Aircraft Carrier to the South China Sea


Britain is planning to send an aircraft carrier to the South China Sea to back up Australia as the two countries seek to deal with China’s growing aggressiveness in the region.

The announcement was made by United Kingdom Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who— along with Jeremy Hunt, London’s foreign secretary— met with Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in England last week.

“We have started to see a step change in our relationship,” Williamson told reporters during the visit, according to various media reports .

“For the first time since 2013, Britain has been deploying ships to the Pacific region. We have three this year, and this isn’t something we want to see as a flash in the pan.”

Williamson added: “We’re very much hoping and going to work together on deploying HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Pacific and hopefully sailing side by side with Australian vessels.”

Other articles from Australian media suggested that the joint maneuvers could include a freedom of navigation exercise in the South China Sea. In these exercises, ships travel close to China’s man-made islands in the region to protest what many argue are excessive maritime claims by China.