The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth strike group has launched its first operational deployment to Asia, with group commander Steve Moorhouse saying the operation demonstrates to allies that a post-EU Britain is ready to defend The operation showed allies that the post-European Union Britain is ready to defend Western interests and is eager to see China respect international regulations.
“Reuters reported on 28 June that HMS Queen Elizabeth is participating in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Steadfast Defender exercise in the Mediterranean this week, followed by an eight-month itinerary that includes a trip through the South China Sea to unleash maritime shipping on Beijing. The South China Sea to send a message to Beijing that maritime shipping routes must remain open.
Standing on the deck of the carrier, Moorehouse told Reuters that the carrier “is a powerful statement” and that “for us, the goal is that this deployment will be part of a more sustained British presence in the region. The goal for us is that this deployment will be part of a more sustained British presence in the region,” meaning the Indo-Pacific region, which includes India and Australia.
He said the deployment will include exercises with naval vessels from the United States, Singapore, Japan and South Korea. Asked about Britain’s desire to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific to counteract China’s growing power, Moorehouse said, “We want to maintain international norms… Our presence there is absolutely key.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth departed from Portsmouth Naval Base in the United Kingdom on the 22nd and will travel about 41,000 kilometers through the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and South China Sea, stopping in Oman, Singapore, South Korea and Japan; her fleet includes eight British F-35Bs, 10 U.S. F-35 stowaway fighters, 1,700 officers and men on board including 250 U.S. Marines, and her strike group consists of two The strike group consists of 2 naval frigates, 2 destroyers, 2 supply ships and 1 submarine ship, with 1 U.S. destroyer and 1 Dutch frigate also joining the formation.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who inspected the NATO military exercise aboard the Queen Elizabeth, said, “We face global threats and challenges, including the changing balance of power brought about by the rise of China.