The United Kingdom plans to increase its presence in the disputed South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region. That’s what the chief of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston.
The British Carrier Strike Group, led by the $ 3.9 billion flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, is on its maiden journey around the world. During the 28-week deployment, the group will visit India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore and the wider region. This makes it the largest concentration of maritime and air force that has left the UK in a generation.
“More persistent presence in the region than any other European country”
In a speech aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth, docked in Singapore, Sir Wigston said there would be a” more regular (…) deployment (of units)”. “That would be reflected both in what you see from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, ” it sounded.
The UK wants a “more persistent presence” in the region than any other European country, says UK High Commissioner in Singapore Kara Owen.
She added that two Royal Navy warships have just sailed through the Panama Canal and are heading for Asian waters. This follows an announcement in July to permanently station two warships in the region.
”Our ambition is to have a more sustained presence here than any other country from (Europe), ” said Owen on board the 65,000-ton ship.
In addition to the deployment of more military resources, the increased engagement will come in the form of humanitarian aid and disaster relief, Sir Wigston added.
Previously, ships of the U.K. Carrier Strike Group participated in an exercise to mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Power Defence Arrangements, with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.