HMS Queen Elizabeth takes Japan relations to ‘whole new level’ amid China tensions

HMS Queen Elizabeth displays 'global Britain' says Moorhouse

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Docking in the US Navy base in Yokosuka, which guards the bay of Tokyo, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Japan shows the UK’s commitment to safeguarding interests in the South China Sea and cooperation in standing up to Beijing. In recent months, China’s military has been growing increasingly bold, committing almost daily incursions into Taiwan’s airspace and clashing in heated disputes with several nations in the region.

In a Twitter video message, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the Carrier Strike Group, said the visit comes as part of Britain’s commitment to strengthen its “diplomatic, economic and security ties in the Indo-Pacific” area.

He also vowed the trip would take the bilateral relationship with Japan “to a whole new level.”

“The Carrier Strike Group’s presence embodies the United Kingdom’s support for the freedom and security of the region’s vital trading routes, and for an international system that benefits all countries,” Moorhouse said.

According to the Yokosuka city office, 1,240 crew members on the HMS Queen Elizabeth will not disembark from the warship.

Britain’s newest naval superpower will depart from the base next Thursday.

The arrival of the vessel follows a joint exercise between Japan, the US, Netherlands and Canada since Thursday which aimed to strengthen the participating countries’ cooperation.

The operation also hopes to contribute towards the West’s ideology of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth departed Britain in May, making several stops in allied nations along its path to the South China Sea.

Originally commissioned in 2017, the state-of-the-art craft and namesake of Her Majesty is Britain’s largest aircraft carrier and is capable of transporting up to 40 aircraft, according to the Royal Navy.

The vessel’s arrival in Japan comes as China unveils a new set of maritime laws which look to regulate foreign ships in the region.

The new laws which will require all foreign vessels entering Chinese waters to carry permits and inform maritime authorities of their entry has been described as a “ticking time bomb” for a potential conflict, according to the Taipei Times.

China’s Maritime Safety Administration said the new regulations apply to any foreign vessels deemed to “endanger the maritime traffic safety of China”.

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Su Tzu-Yun, Taiwan’s Director of the Division of Defense Strategy and Resources at the Institute of National Defense and Strategic Research, believes the laws could encompass more than just the waters around China.

Mr Su claimed the regulations would also include the 12 nautical miles of the sea around Beijing’s artificial reefs in the South China Sea – expanding China’s control of the area dramatically.

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