UK’s aircraft carrier travels to Japan amid China worries

TOKYO — Japan’s defense minister welcomed HMS Queen Elizabeth, the British aircraft carrier. It made its first Japanese port-call Monday. He said that the participation of European countries in the Indo-Pacific region was crucial for peace and stability.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi met the strike group’s commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, on board the carrier.

The ship arrived at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka near Tokyo on Saturday. Japan seeks to increase its military cooperation with the United States in light of China’s increasing territorial assertions and expanding navy.

The Queen Elizabeth participated in a joint exercise with warships from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and Japan before arriving in Yokosuka. This exercise is part of Washington’s efforts to create a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“European countries’ interest in (China’s) unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas … contributes to the peace and stability in this region,” Kishi told reporters. “I expect the port call will contribute to a further development of Japan-British defense cooperation.”

Japan has become increasingly worried about China’s growing military influence in the region as well as Beijing’s escalating tensions with Taiwan and rivalry with the United States. Japan repeatedly complained to China about its increasing activity in the vicinity of Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China also claims them as Diaoyu.

After arriving in Yokosuka, Moorhouse tweeted that the strike group’s interaction is part of Britain’s “commitment to strengthen our diplomatic, economic and security ties in the Indo-Pacific.” He said it will take ties between Japan and Britain “to a whole new level.”

“The Carrier Strike Group’s presence embodies the United Kingdom’s support for the freedom and security of the region’s vital trading routes, and for an international system that benefits all countries,” Moorhead said.

The strike group departed from Britain in May. The HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s most powerful and largest warship was commissioned in 2017,. It is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft such as F-35 stealth fighters, according to the Royal Navy.

Read More

Related Posts