Britain risks disgracing itself by sending carriers to S.China Sea
"During a visit in Australia, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Thursday that Britain's two new aircraft carriers could be sent to patrol the South China Sea ...UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon made similar comments on Thursday, claiming that Britain would not be constrained by China from sailing through the South China Sea.
To declare the freedom of navigation in the Western Pacific is not in line with Britain's national interests. It is no longer 1840. There are no longer any British colonies in East Asia and the presence of Britain's warship in the region is more like "an aberration."
Brexit is weakening Britain's influence, and it appears that the country needs to do something to assert its sense of identity. If it goes too far, however, it will get itself in trouble. Britain's national strength today is even weaker than when it went to war with Argentina in 1982. And Britain has no capacity to mobilize troops to fight a "New Opium War" with China off the China coast.
Obviously, the "freedom of navigation" pursued by the US and its allies is posing a real threat to China's security. Today, the biggest threat in the South China Sea comes from the provocation to China by military forces outside the region. Britain should be aware that if the country's new aircraft carriers are sent to patrol the South China Sea, the Chinese will view it as a provocation.
China's rise has changed the balance of power around the globe, and this has presented new temptations for Britain to bring its influence as a big power into full play. If Britain sends its carriers to the South China Sea, it will merely be humiliating itself. It seems as if the US is a police officer, Australia is its assistant and the UK is "an accomplice."
The relationship between China and the Philippines has improved. Vietnam attempted to drill for oil in the disputed sea area but finally gave up. Whether the South China Sea remains peaceful or not depends on how active forces outside the region are in getting involved and meddling. But those forces have no determination to play for real or take any real risks in confronting China. In face of China's determination to defend its national interests, they are either paper tigers or a paper cat like Australia."
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Friday said that some non-regional countries' insistence on stirring up trouble in the South China Sea was "worth maintaining vigilance."
"Some non-regional countries insist on stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, which is gradually becoming tranquil. No matter what excuse or holding which banner, their record in leaving chaos and humanitarian disaster through interference suggests that it is worth maintaining vigilance," Lu Kang said at a daily press briefing.
Lu's comment came after Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon reportedly said that Britain plans to send a warship to the South China Sea next year to conduct freedom of navigation exercises, following British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's remarks about sending two new aircraft carriers, once operational in 2020, to the region.