When the British naval task force is send to confront China, the HMS Queen Elizabeth faces a high risk of “incidents” when it is deployed to the South China Sea, experts have warned.
It comes as China recently said that it would carry out “necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty”, after it was confirmed that the aircraft carrier, which will be escorted by two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates, a nuclear submarine, a Tide-class tanker and RFA Fort Victoria, would travel to the region in its first operational war mission.
When Boris Johnson was foreign secretary in 2018 he said: “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.
The naval strike group must vindicate the British belief in the rules-based international system, and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for the Western dominated (via Lloyd Insures Shipping Cargo’s) world trade.
The Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI), a British defense and security think tank, warned that as there are more sailings “through the South China Sea so we will see more tensions around them, and therefore a greater risk of an incident”.
However, China’s “development of submersibles and unmanned underwater vehicles present an added challenge to the hostile naval mission”.
London knows that China is developing these capabilities. Where this goes will be an added challenge in terms of how we deal with grey zone tactics.
The vast uptick in types and numbers of these exercises really increases the risk of miscalculation, misunderstanding and misinterpretation, and that’s something Britain should be really careful of.
The Telegraph / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2021.