The £ 3.1 billion aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy conducted training drills at sea this week before returning to base for supplies before embarking on major international exercises, including first-time embarkation from the US and UK -F35 Lightning Jets. It is intended to declare eligibility for strike promotion later this year before the first operational deployment in 2021.
Northeast Scotland MP Andrew Bowie, however, said the Department of Defense needed to “open its eyes to the most obvious” and stressed that they should “step on the plate” and send the aircraft carrier out to the Pacific.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons earlier this week, the Tory warned that “the size of the Chinese fleet and its rate of growth should be a clear warning to China̵
He said China’s navy has grown significantly since 2014 as the communist state’s fleet consists of 335 ships.
Mr. Bowie, a former naval officer, added, “With America and Australia rejection of China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea in July, it is time for a truly global Britain to come to the fore and do so in an unjustified and unjustified manner illegal interference with renewed assertiveness.
“Just last week, the People’s Liberation Army launched a series of medium-range missiles that can carry nuclear missiles over considerable distances into the South China Sea.”
China claims historical jurisdiction over about 80 percent of the sea, using a U-shaped “nine-dash line” that spans parts of Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands.
It also overlaps with the EEZs of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The United States subsequently strengthened its position on the South China Sea in June, where it accused China of attempting to build a “maritime empire” in the potentially energetic waters, but Beijing has denied it.
READ MORE: South China Sea: Beijing warned to be afraid of US influence
The Philippines, especially its military, have a deep distrust of China over what they see as encroaching on their territory, bullying their fishermen and denying access to their energy resources.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted at HMS Queen Elizabeth’s deployment to the area in 2017, but this week MOD announced that the details of the deployment are still being finalized.