The £ 3.1 billion Royal Navy aircraft carrier underwent training exercises at sea this week before returning to base for pre-departure supplies for major international drills, including boarding the F35 Lightning jet for the first time. both US and British. It aims to declare attack aircraft carrier capability by the end of the year before its first operational deployment in 2021.
But North East Scotland MP Andrew Bowie said the Defense Ministry had to “open their eyes to the blatantly obvious” by pointing out that they should “get on the plate” and deploy the aircraft carrier in the Pacific.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons this week, the Tory warned that “the size of the Chinese fleet and its rate of growth should be a clear warning of China̵
He said the Chinese navy has expanded significantly since 2014, with the Communist state fleet consisting of 335 ships.
Mr. Bowie, a former naval officer, added: “With both America and Australia’s renewed rejection in July of China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea, it is time for a truly global Britain to step forward and fulfill this unwarranted and illegal invasion with renewed assertiveness.
“Just last week, the People’s Liberation Army launched a series of medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear missiles considerable distances into the South China Sea.”
China claims historical jurisdiction over approximately 80% of the sea, using a U-shaped “nine-line line” that includes areas of Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ, as well as the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands.
It also overlaps with the EEZs of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The US in response strengthened its position on the South China Sea in June, where it accused China of attempting to build a “maritime empire” in potentially energy-rich waters, but Beijing denied this.
READ MORE: South China Sea: Beijing warned of fear of US influence
The Philippines, particularly its military, harbor a deep mistrust of China for what it sees as intrusions into its territory, bullying by its 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 MOD said the implementation details were still being finalized.