London/Tokyo/Beijing – The United Kingdom has announced increasing defence cooperation with Japan against the backdrop of China’s hegemonic actions. A high-level delegation, along with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, is on a visit to Japan. The United Kingdom announced that the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth would visit Japan in September for a joint exercise. Wallace announced that at the same time, the United Kingdom would permanently deploy two of its warships in the Indo-Pacific region by the end of next year.
Over the past few years, China’s expansionist activities have intensified, with aggressive policies being implemented to increase its influence over the entire Pacific region, including the South and the East China Sea. The United States has taken the initiative to counter Chinese aggression and called on allies in the Indo-Pacific region and allies in Europe to be more proactive. Since then, countries like France, Germany and Britain have indicated an increase in their movements in the Indo-Pacific. These countries have also announced separate policies for it, signalling the defence deployment forwarding the issue of ‘Freedom of Navigation’.
As part of this, the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has entered the Indo-Pacific region. The aircraft carrier will travel across the South China Sea along with its task force next month. Defence Minister Ben Wallace asserted that the British aircraft carrier would carry out the operation regardless of any threats from China. Defence Minister Wallace clarified ‘It is no secret that China monitors and chases ships sailing in international waters. We respect China and expect it to respect us as well. The British navy will conduct its operations in respecting the international law.’
The British defence minister announced that following the operation in the South China Sea, the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth would also visit Japan. Wallace said ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth and the task force will visit five Japanese ports. A joint exercise between the British and Japanese navies will also take place during the visit in September.’ Wallace also met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi. The British defence minister also announced that maritime and defence cooperation with Japan was being strengthened.
While boosting defence cooperation with Japan, Defence Minister Ben Wallace said the United Kingdom would deploy two warships permanently in the Indo-Pacific region by the end of this year. The deployment is believed to be part of Britain’s aggressive “Indo-Pacific” strategy. Apart from the United Kingdom, France and Germany also have announced the deployment of warships in the region. Just last month, Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi also appealed to the European countries to emphasise defence deployments in the Indo-Pacific region.