Britain reaffirms Asia’s tilt as new warship stops Singapore

SINGAPORE, Oct. 11 (Reuters) – Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth made a stopover in Singapore on Monday as part of a drive to reassert itself globally and strengthen its military presence in Asia in a context of growing competition between the great powers.

The Queen Elizabeth led a British aircraft carrier strike group in exercises with the Singapore Army over the weekend, including naval maneuvers and simulated combat training with F-35B stealth fighters and F-16 jets.

Britain plans to permanently deploy two warships in Asian waters, where the United States and its Western allies are trying to contain the militarization of China and the building of islands in seas vital to the movement of thousands billions of dollars in world trade.

“Our recent integrated review underscored the importance of the Indo-Pacific and the UK’s intention to bow here and have an increased footprint and a much more persistent presence,” the commander told Reuters. Strike Group Commodore Steve Moorhouse aboard the new 65,000-ton vessel.

“What better way to show this in the first place, with Queen Elizabeth deployed here on her first operational deployment.”

A view of the British Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Naval Base, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on September 6, 2021. Kiyoshi Ota / Pool via REUTERS

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Singapore is one of more than 40 countries the strike group will interact with through visits or exercises during its global deployment, according to a statement from the British government.

Britain, like China, now has two aircraft carriers, compared to 11 in the United States. The $ 4 billion Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship built by the British Army and measures roughly the length of three football fields at 274 meters (900 feet).

Queen Elizabeth visited Japan last month to mark the start of the permanent military presence, which came as the United States, Britain and Australia agreed to a trilateral regional defense pact , AUKUS.

In recent years, China has controversially deployed coastguard vessels throughout the South China Sea and built man-made islands with missile systems, to assert broad territorial claims that an international arbitration ruling has declared. invalid.

Earlier this month, China made the largest ever incursion with its Air Force into Taiwan’s air defense zone.

Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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