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HMS Queen Elizabeth ship pivots to East Asia to confront China

16:52 | 14/07/2020

The UK's new aircraft carrier will join US's navy drill in the Far East amid rise of tensions with China.

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According to express.co.uk, The UK’s new £3 billion aircraft carrier has been put forward for drills in the Far East, according to The Times. It comes as UK and China have been at odds over Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network, and over the new Hong Kong security law. The US has also pilled on pressure on the UK to take a firmer stance against Beijing.

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
The class leading HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to visit the Far East during its maiden grand voyage next year. Photo: Daily Mail.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth will set sail next year according to new plans from military chiefs.

On its Far East voyage The Queen Elizabeth is to be accompanied by other warships, including two Type 45 destroyers and two frigates, while it will also have two squadrons of F-35B Lightning II jets.

It is likely one of those squadrons will be from the RAF while the other could be from the US Marine Corps, the Times reports.

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
The HMS Queen Elizabeth (pictured right with sister ship HMS Prince of Wales - left) is set to be involved in joint military exercises with allies such as the United States and Japan during the visit, according to the Times. Photo: Daily Mail.

As well as taking part in military exercises, the carrier, which along with its sister ship HMS Prince of Wales is the largest ever built by the British Navy, will also provide a platform for trade talks, the Times, quoting an unnamed defence source, Daily Mail reported.

The HMS Prince of Wales, which also cost £3billion, is said to be around 18 months behind its sister ship in terms of deployment.

Once completed, defence chiefs hope to base one of the carriers in the Indo-Pacific region. A source told the Times: 'One carrier will support Nato in the North Atlantic.

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
On its Far East voyage The Queen Elizabeth is to be accompanied by other warships, including two Type 45 destroyers and two frigates, while it will also have two squadrons of F-35B Lightning II jets (pictured). Photo: Daily Mail.

The Times revealed that the deployment is meant to counter an increasingly aggressive China.

Plans have also been drawn up to send sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, to the region when it finishes training. The aircraft carrier is said to be around 18 months behind HMS Queen Elizabeth in terms of battle readiness.

A source told the Times: “One carrier will support NATO in the North Atlantic.

“Where else are you going to put the other? On the main trade routes and to counter the emerging threat of China. “It would be an allied task group, a British carrier, but a coalition of the willing. “That’s how it’s being looked at.”

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
The HMS Prince of Wales (pictured) is said to be around 18 months behind its sister ship in terms of deployment. Photo: Daily Mail.

Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd, fleet commander, said that the Royal Navy was “going to be coming back to the Indo-Pacific”.

He explained how Britain could get involved in the region to a webinar hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank.

He said: “Our ambition is to be absolutely persistent and forward-based there, maybe with a carrier strike group, or maybe not. We’ll see.”

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
It is likely one of those squadrons of F-35B fighter jets (pictured) will be from the RAF while the other could be from the US Marine Corps, the Times reports. Photo: Daily Mail.

Vice-Admiral Kyd added that British stealth fighter jets could be sustained “through our US allies and through the hub in Japan”, and be transported by the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

But a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth and its escorts will offer the United Kingdom a world-class sovereign carrier strike capability.

“No decision has been made on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s deployment.”

The deployment plans follow the US training in the South China Sea, deploying their own two aircraft carriers to the area last week. The move infuriated China, and Beijing state media threatened the ships.

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
HMS Queen Elizabeth, pictured, weighs some 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots and a four-acre flight deck. Photo: Daily Mail.

The plans also follow Prime Minister Boris Johnson enraging Beijing with his stance on the new Hong Kong security law, usadailyexpress.com reported.

The controversial new legislation allowed China to criminalise collusion with foreign forces, and curtails pro-democracy protests and freedom of speech in the city.

In response, Mr Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab approved plans to offer around 3 million Hong Kongers a “route to citizenship”.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to London, said the offer was a “gross interference”.

He added: “The UK government keeps making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs."

hms queen elizabeth ship pivots to east asia to confront china
Photo: Daily Mail.
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