Britain’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to visit Japan, S Korea on maiden deployment | Reuters
Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will lead a flotilla of Royal Navy ships through Asian waters on port visits to Japan and South Korea on its maiden deployment, the British embassy in Tokyo said on Monday.
The high-profile visits, aimed at bolstering security ties in East Asia, come amid tensions in the region as concern grows in Japan over any threat posed to neighbouring Taiwan by China.
Including the Queen Elizabeth with 18 F-35B stealth fighters, two destroyers, two frigates and two support ships, the British carrier strike group will have to sail through the contested South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by China and South East Asian countries, on its way to East Asia. The ships will also stop in India and Singapore.
It will be joined by vessels from the United States and a frigate from the Netherlands and will carry out exercises with forces from Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, the UAE, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, India, Oman and South Korea, the British government said in a news release.
Other foreign ships currently in Asian waters include a French amphibious carrier and two U.S. navy aircraft carriers, one of which, the USS Ronald Reagan, is based in Japan. A close Washington ally, Japan hosts the biggest concentration of U.S. military forces outside the United States, including warships, planes and thousands of marines.