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The United Kingdom sends a huge naval fleet to the region of high tension in Asia

Hong Kong (CNN) – Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday that the largest naval fleet Britain assembled in recent years will set sail in May for a month-long voyage across the Pacific.

When the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) sets sail next month, it will raise the flag of Global Britain: it will demonstrate our influence, indicate our strength, interact with our friends and reaffirm our commitment to taking on challenges. Security challenges today British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday.

The entire UK aircraft carrier strike group met for the first time during the 2020 Group Exercise in October. The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth commands a fleet from the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands.

Wallace said: “The United Kingdom is not holding back. It is sailing ahead to play an active role in shaping the international order for the twenty-first century.”

The strike group will command the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, in its maiden deployment. The ship, one of two British aircraft carriers, is the largest warship the British have ever sent to sea.

Two destroyers, two anti-submarine frigates, a submarine and two aid supply ships will join the tanker, according to the ministry statement.

China is showing its military potential to the world 4:31

The ministry said a US Navy destroyer would sail with the group, in addition to a Dutch frigate that would take over air defense.

The air force within the group will focus on the Royal Air Force (RAF) F-35B stealth fighters and US Marine Corps F-35B, all of which will fly from the deck of the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier.

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When one of these aircraft carrier strike groups sailed together during military exercises off Scotland last fall, the Department of Defense said it was carrying the “ largest concentration of combat aircraft at sea on a Royal Navy aircraft carrier since HMS Hermes in 1983. ”

He also said that it is “the largest fifth-generation combat air group at sea anywhere in the world.” Fifth generation fighters are the most advanced combat aircraft in the air.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says the UK’s aircraft carrier strike group “will be the most capable fleet deployed by a single European navy in recent years”.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies said, “While it will not replicate a US Navy attack group, it is likely to be closer to it than anything else that can be deployed currently” by any other naval force.

A US Marine Corps F-35 fighter was deployed over the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during exercises in September.

Britain published a comprehensive review of its military and foreign policy in March, acknowledging its tendency towards the Indian and Pacific Oceans for the next decade.

In announcing the aircraft carrier strike group on Monday, the Ministry of Defense said the deployment aimed at a deeper security role for the UK in the region, with exercises planned alongside India, Japan and South Korea as well as with US forces in the region.

It will also highlight one of Britain’s oldest security relationships, the Five Forces Defense Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Defense Ministry said the Bersama Lima exercise would mark the 50th anniversary of the defense agreement.

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The British Ministry of Defense said the strike group would visit 40 countries as part of the trip to the Pacific Ocean. The ministry said the flight, which will take the strike group across the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean en route to the Pacific, will cover nearly 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers).

Britain has not released the exact route of the strike group in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but a planned visit to Singapore will be at the doorstep of the South China Sea and crossing the waterway will be the most straightforward and direct route to its terminals in Japan and South Korea.

China claims approximately 1.3 million square miles in the South China Sea to be its sovereign territory, and has decried its existence Foreign warships There as a root of tensions in the region.

Increasing military tension between China and Taiwan 0:30

When asked about the British deployment and French military activity in the South China Sea in March, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said that Beijing “strongly opposes any country that interferes in regional affairs under the pretext of” freedom of navigation “and harms the common interests of countries in the region.

The UK carrier group is also expected to pass east Taiwan, The autonomous island that China also claims is part of its territory and which Beijing has strengthened its sea and air deployment around in recent months.

In its defense review, the British government highlighted the challenges that China poses.

“The growing power of China and international assertion is likely to be the most important geopolitical factor in the 1920s,” the review said, describing Beijing as “the nation’s biggest threat to the economic security of the United Kingdom.”

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The review said Britain intends to increase its military presence around the world.

Monday’s announcement of the aircraft carrier strike group’s range reinforced that notion.

The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in New York on October 19, 2018.

“The largest spread of its kind in a quarter of a century is a visual demonstration of the Royal Navy re-emerging after decades of deflation,” Commodore Steve Morehouse, leader of the strike group, said in a statement.

“As our nation redefines its place in the world after Brexit, it is the natural embodiment of the government’s agenda for“ global Britain. ”In a context of growing instability and competition, it reflects the UK’s continued commitment to global security, Morehouse said.

Japan welcomed the announcement by the United Kingdom and said that the visit of the aircraft carrier strike group will raise the long-standing relationship between Tokyo and London to “a new level.”

He also said the deployment shows “the commitment of the United Kingdom and the cooperation between Japan and the United Kingdom to maintain and enhance the” free and open “Indo-Pacific region in the area of ​​security and defense,” according to a statement from the ministry. Japan.