UK puts China checkmate with two warships off the coast of Japan
...or so they say
London announced on Tuesday that it intends to permanently deploy a few warships in Southeast Asian waters-off the coast of Japan to be precise.
Earlier this summer, China warned the West – especially the US, UK and NATO – that its army will not “stand by passively and do nothing” if “challenges” arise. Undoubtedly, Beijing will see any new “permanent” US and UK military deployment off the coast of Japan as a major challenge.
Where and when? In September, Britain’s aircraft carrier the Queen Elizabeth and escort ships sail to Japan, writes Reuters. They will sail in seas where China is fighting for influence with the United States and Japan. Think of the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by China and Southeast Asian countries.
There will also be stops in India, Singapore and South Korea.
The British aircraft carrier, which has F-35B stealth jets on board, will dock in Yokosuka, home of the Japanese fleet command and the USS Ronald Reagan, the only deployed American aircraft carrier. Upon their arrival in Japan, the Queen Elizabeth and her accompanying ships will split up for separate port visits to American and Japanese naval bases along the Japanese archipelago.
“Following the initial deployment of the aircraft carrier group, the United Kingdom will permanently station two ships in the region as of later this year,” said British Defense minister Ben Wallace in a joint announcement in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi.
The British ships will have no fixed base, said a spokesman for the British Embassy in Tokyo on the question from which ports the Royal Navy ships will operate.
And the greatest ally? In a statement on deployment, a Pentagon spokesperson congratulated Britain on its ” commitment to an interconnected network of allies and partners, working together and supporting freedom of navigation and a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Japan, a close ally of the US, houses the largest concentration of U.S. military forces outside the United States, including ships, aircraft and thousands of Marines.
Interesting to know: the Queen Elizabeth is escorted by two destroyers, two frigates, two support ships and ships from the United States and the Netherlands.
British Defense Minister Wallace said the UK will eventually also deploy a Littoral Response Group, which is a marine unit trained to carry out missions, including evacuations and counter-terrorism operations.