This week, the 3.1 billion-pound Royal Navy aircraft carrier conducted exercises at sea before returning to the pre-shipment base before leaving for major international exercises, including the first embarkation of F35 Lightning aircraft from the United States and the United Kingdom. Its aim is to declare the ability of strike carriers later this year before its first operational deployment in 2021.
But Northeast Scotland MP Andrew Bowie said the Department of Defense should “open its eyes to the obvious”, stressing that it must “step on the plate” and deploy the aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking to lawmakers this week, Tori warned that “China’s navy size and growth rate should be a clear warning of China̵
He said China’s fleet has expanded significantly since 2014, with the communist state’s fleet consisting of 335 ships.
Mr Bowie, a former naval officer, added: “With the renewed rejection in July by America and Australia of Chinese territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea, it is time for a truly global Britain to rise to the plate and respond to this unreasonably. and unlawful assault with renewed confidence.
“Only last week, the People’s Liberation Army launched a series of medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear missiles over long distances in the South China Sea.”
China claims historic jurisdiction over about 80 percent of the sea using a “nine-dash” U-line that includes parts of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone or the EEZ, as well as the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands.
It also overlaps the EEZ of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The United States solidified its position in the South China Sea in June, accusing China of trying to build a “maritime empire” in potentially energy-rich waters, but Beijing denied that.
READ MORE: South China Sea: Beijing warns it fears US influence
The Philippines, especially its military, has a deep distrust of China over what it sees as intrusion into its territory, harassment of fishermen and denial of access to its energy resources.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted at the deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the region in 2017, but this week the Ministry of Defense said that the details of the deployment are still being finalized.