Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says that the first mission of the UK's two brand new aircraft carriers will be to conduct freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, something that will infuriate the Chinese. Speaking to an Australian audience, Johnson said: "One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area, to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade." The UK’s newest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy. It is undergoing its maiden sea trials off the coast of Scotland and is expected to be accepted by the navy towards the end of the year. The second ship in the class, the HMS Prince of Wales, is being fitted out in the Rosyth dock and will be officially named in September.
# Britain's 'colossal' new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth...
Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop responded to Johnson by reaffirming the close relationship between Britain and Australia:
"In a volatile and unpredictable world it is more important than ever to nurture the friendships that we know best and that matter to us the most and with people we trust the most. We had a long discussion about the Pacific and the opportunities for deeper British engagement in our part of the world. We also see the United Kingdom as being a natural partner with us in the development and security of the Pacific."
Boris Johnson's announcement comes at a particularly bad time for China's president Xi Jinping, because he's trying to strengthen his political position in the bloody back-stabbing leadership of the Chinese Communist Party ahead of the Party Congress that begins in October. Thus, Xi may feel pressured to take some kind of action or make some kind of threat in response to the UK announcement.... Guardian (London) and Vice News