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China Warns Of Serious Consequences If Britain and US sends Aircraft carrier into disputed waters

China Warns Of Serious Consequences If Britain and US sends Aircraft carrier into disputed waters
The Brit and American carriers lead the line, accompanied by other allied ships during a joint military exercise credit: EPA

China will view the sending of British and the US warships into disputed waters it claims its own as “hostile action” with serious consequences, senior officials from the country have warned and urged that London not get sucked into carrying out “dirty jobs” for Washington.

The message that China will not tolerate “violation of sovereignty” came as the American defence secretary, Mark Esper, called for the help of allies, including the UK, in standing up to what he claimed was Beijing’s “attempts to disrupt the international order” and seek “domination”.

It also comes as plans are being discussed to deploy American F-35 stealth fighters aboard the royal navy aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth – the first of a series of joint military initiatives between the two countries.

Reacting to a suggestion that the UK might send its aircraft carrier close to the contested Spratly Islands, with US jets onboard, China’s Ambassador to the UK said Britain “should not do this dirty job for somebody else”.

Speaking to the Defence Correspondents’ Association in London, Liu Xiaoming rejected the argument that the Royal Navy would be upholding international rules concerning Freedom of Navigation.

“The South China Sea is a vast ocean, it is three million square kilometres wide, we have no objection to people sailing around there but do not enter Chinese territorial waters within twelve nautical miles.

“If you don’t do that, there shouldn’t be a problem. The South China Sea is wide enough to have free navigation of shipping.”

The Spratly and Paracel Islands sit in strategic shipping lanes and are variously claimed by a number of nations in the region including China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The United States Navy conducts regular freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea to challenge China’s territorial claim.

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