Britain to send warship to South China Sea elevating rifts with Beijing
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 28-Jul-2017
New Delhi, July 28: A move that might likely anger Beijing, Britain plans to send a warship to the disputed South China Sea by next year to conduct freedom of navigation exercises. Defence Minister Michael Fallon confirmed on this news.
Before Brexit hits Britain, the country wants to increase its presence in the waters. The decision came after the country sent 4 British fighter planes for joint exercises with Japan last year. Fallon said to the media, “We hope to send a warship to region next year. We have not finalized exactly where that deployment will take place but won’t be constrained by China from sailing through the South China Sea.”
The presence of a British vessel threatens to stoke tensions, escalated by China’s naval build-up and its increasingly assertive stance. Till now, nobody has mentioned on where exactly the vessel will be sent but firepower of that extent is definitely going to threaten China.
Earlier this month, the US sent two bombers over the region, coming just a few months after it sent a warship to carry out a maneuvering drill within 12 nautical miles of one of China's artificial islands. China has repeatedly warned the United States against naval patrols in the South China Sea.
The US has long sought to limit China’s growing maritime influence in the sea, over most of which Beijing claims sovereignty. The South China Sea is the subject of a territorial dispute between China and Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.