The UK’s new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, and its strike group are making their way into the South China Sea as the British are using the warship’s maiden voyage to stoke tensions with Beijing.
The South China Sea Probing Initiative spotted the Queen Elizabeth sailing through the Strait of Malacca on its way to the South China Sea on Sunday morning.
Some British warships have already entered the South China Sea, including the HMS Defender. According to USNI News, the Defender was docked in Brunei on Sunday morning. Before stoking tensions with Beijing, the Defender was in the Black Sea and carried out a reckless provocation against Russia by sailing 12 miles off the coast of Crimea. Moscow responded by firing warning shots on the vessel.
The South China Sea has turned into a dangerous flashpoint between the US and China. US military activity in the disputed waters has significantly increased over the past few years, and Washington is getting its allies to join in on the provocations against China.
The Queen Elizabeth and its strike group will eventually end up in Japan after making several stops along the way. After the aircraft carrier docks in Japan, British military officials announced that two UK warships would be permanently deployed in Asia.