The UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth stopped in Singapore on Monday as Britain is expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific region as part of the Western push to counter China.
“Our recent integrated review highlighted the importance of the Indo-Pacific and the UK’s intent to tilt here and have an increased footprint, and much more persistent presence,” Commodore Steve Moorhouse, the commander of the Queen Elizabeth’s strike group, told Reuters.
“What better way to just show that off in the first instance, with Queen Elizabeth deploying here for her first operational deployment,” Moorhouse added.
The Queen Elizabeth has been deployed in Asia since July, and the UK plans to permanently deploy two warships to the region that are expected to be based out of Japan. The British have joined the US in challenging China by sending warships through the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.
The stop in Singapore came after the UK signed a new military pact with the US and Australia meant to boost cooperation between the three countries against China. Under the deal, Canberra will get access to technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, and the US will be deploying more forces to Australia, further militarizing the region.