UK to sail new aircraft carriers through contested Asian waters

Britain is planning to sail its two new aircraft carriers on “freedom of navigation” operations through contested waters in Asia, amid increasing tensions between China and Britain’s ally the US.

Boris Johnson, UK foreign secretary, said on Thursday that Britain was stepping up its commitment to the Asia-Pacific region following its dispatch of Typhoon aircraft to Japan and South Korea last year.

“One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Johnson said the aim was “to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital to world trade”.

More to follow

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