The U.K. plans to beef up military deployments in Asia
October 13, 2021: -On Monday, the United Kingdom is planning to increase its military presence in the contested South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region, the Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said.
Speaking onboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth docked in Singapore, and Sir Wigston said there would be a “more regular drumbeat of deployments.”
“That would manifest both in what you see from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force,” he said.
The Carrier Strike Group of the U.K, led by the £3 billion flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, is a force projection on its maiden 28-week deployment worldwide.
The British High Commissioner to Singapore, Kara Owen, said that two Royal Navy warships had just transited the Panama Canal and were headed to Asian waters. This is following an announcement in July to assign two warships to the region permanently.
“Our ambition is to take a more persistent presence here than any other country from,” she said on board the 65,000-ton ship.
Besides the deployment of military assets, the increased engagement will come from humanitarian aid and disaster relief, Sir Wigston added.
Ships from the U.K. Carrier Strike Group participated in an exercise marking the 50th anniversary of the Five Power Defence Arrangements with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The deployment came the U.K. seeks to ink more trade deals worldwide following its departure from the E.U.
The U.K. started negotiations to join a broader Asia Pacific free-trade alliance known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
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