Royal Navy’s new carriers will deploy to Pacific to exercise freedom of navigation


British ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch, has told a Washington think tank that despite Britain’s current focus on the Middle East combating Daesh in Iraq and Syria there will be increased focus on the Pacific region as the two new carriers become operational around 2020. Speaking at an event in Washington attended by the Japanese ambassador to the US, Kenchiro Sasae, he said that Britain will play its part in maintaining the security and stability of the Pacific region with emphasis on maintaining the right to freedom of navigation.

Certainly, as we bring our two new aircraft carriers on stream in 2020 and as we renew and update our defence forces, they will be seen in the Pacific…And we absolutely share the objective of this U.S. administration, and the next one, to protect freedom of navigation and to keep sea routes and air routes open.

The first step in this renewed British military interest in the region has already been taken. In October this year, four RAF Typhoon FGR.2s from No.II(AC) Squadron landed at Misawa Air Base in Northern Japan to participate in Exercise Guardian North 16 with Japanese and US forces. The aircraft then flew to South Korea for exercises with Korean and US forces.

The Japanese ambassador added that during a meeting held at the Pentagon in Washington at the time of the exercise, the UK agreed to increase the level of naval cooperation with Japan and the US in the South and East China Sea as tensions continue with Beijing regarding territorial claims in the region. The ambassador said that Tokyo welcomed Britain’s increased focus on maintaining regional stability.

Darroch’s words come on the eve of President-elect Donald Trump taking up office in Washington on a pledge to build up the US military. Regarding China whom Trump has been deeply critical of, his advisers have said that the new US President will pursue a policy of “peace through strength” in the Pacific to challenge China’s efforts to assert its own authority over the region.



12 responses to “Royal Navy’s new carriers will deploy to Pacific to exercise freedom of navigation

  1. Yes, and hopefully, the Chinese can then move on from “peace through strength” to behaving in a more civilised way. Recognising human rights, leaving conquered territories such as Tibet and so on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • peace through strength ? Thats a bit rich when the UK is militarily involved in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and recently Iraq. And its China whos the non combatant in its involvement in Asia, Africa etc


  2. This will certainly bring us far closer to American military doctrine. The United States contends that the South China Sea is international water, and sovereignty in the area should be determined by the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). UNCLOS states that countries can’t claim sovereignty over any land masses that are submerged at high tide, or that were previously submerged but have been raised above high tide level by construction.

    But what it’s really all about is trade, oil and gas. Control of the South China Sea would allow China to dominate a major trade route through which most of its imported oil flows. It would also allow China to disrupt, or threaten to disrupt, trade shipments to all countries in East and Southeast Asia — as well as deny access to foreign military forces, particularly the United States.

    The floor of the South China Sea may contain massive oil and natural gas reserves. Sovereignty over the region could give China a level of energy security and independence far beyond what it currently possesses.

    From the stand-point of foreign policy post-Brexit, this could be a smart move by the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whilst everything you say is true, it is worth noting, with a considerable degree of irony, that the USA is one of the few nations that has declined to sign up to UNCLOS

      Liked by 1 person

      • And the USA has grabbed distant island chains in pacific, carribean that have no territorial connection to the US. And then there is Diego Garcia


  3. We’ll need a navy to do this seriously. That means more than 2 carriers with enough embarked airpower (809 squadron – all 1 of it – won’t stand up till 2023) and enough escorts to protect them. We have T45s that need a tug with them like the Kuznetsov and no means of taking out a surface threat after 2018 (Harpoon withdrawal).
    Diplomats can talk about increased co-operation and politicians about 5th largest defence budget, but where’s the beef?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: China warns UK about sending new carriers to the South China Sea | Defence of the Realm

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