Britain’s New Flagship to Lead a Carrier Group Into China’s Missile Kill Zone in First Deployment
Supposedly it will be 'sending a message' to China by sailing where it never could in an actual war
The UK is sending its new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, to the Indo-Pacific region this month to send a message to Beijing. On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the deployment will show China that the UK believes in the “international law of the sea.”
The US and its allies have been accusing China of threatening the so-called “rules-based order.” One example the West points to is Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, which the US challenges with dangerous military provocations by frequently sailing warships near Chinese-controlled islands.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to sail through the South China Sea while in the region. The aircraft carrier will be leading a large naval strike group that will be the largest British Navy deployment since the 1982 Falklands War. A US Navy destroyer will also join the British ships.
Sending such a large naval flotilla to challenge China is a provocative move, but Johnson insists it is not meant to be antagonistic. “One of the things we’ll be doing clearly is showing to our friends in China that we believe in the international law of the sea, and in a confident but not a confrontational way, we will be vindicating that point,” he said.
Considering the view from Beijing, a large naval deployment to the region is reminiscent of the Opium Wars in the mid-1800s, which led to the UK carving out Hong Kong as a colony.
The first operational deployment of Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to Asia will show countries such as China that Britain believes in the international law of the sea, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.
Johnson said the Carrier Strike Group, which will interact with more than 40 nations on the deployment through the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and South China Sea to Japan, would project Britain’s values as well as its military capabilities.