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UK Sending Warship to Challenge China at South China Sea

Britain’s HMS Sutherland, an anti-submarine frigate, will sail through the South China Sea next month to assert maritime freedom of navigation rights. (Photo by British Royal Navy)

  • UK Sending Warship to Challenge China at South China Sea
    Britain plans to sail a warship to the South China Sea next month at a time of rising tensions between China and the United States, a move likely to anger Beijing.

    British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told The Australian newspaper on Tuesday HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 frigate, will travel through the key trading lane after concluding a visit to Australia.

    If Britain went ahead with its plan, it would become what is believed to be only the second country after the United States to assert what it calls freedom of navigation rights in waters, which China controls.

    Beijing has, on different occasions, asserted its sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, which serves as a crossing for more $ 5 trillion worth of maritime trade annually. The sea is also claimed in part by the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

    The US has accused China of implementing what it calls a land reclamation program in the South China Sea by building artificial islands in the disputed areas.

    However, Beijing has maintained that Washington meddles in the regional issues and deliberately stirs up tensions in the contested waters.

    Williamson told The Australian that the United Kingdom supports “the US approach on this, we very much support what the US has been doing.” “She’ll (Sutherland) be sailing through the South China Sea and making it clear our navy has a right to do that,” he stated.

    “World dynamics are shifting so greatly. The US can only concentrate on so many things at once. The US is looking for other countries to do more. This is a great opportunity for the UK and Australia to do more, to exercise leadership.”

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February 14, 2018 - Posted by | GeoPolitics | , , , ,

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