Rigidity within the contested area has ramped up in latest months as Bejing has warned the US and UK over their navy actions within the South China Sea. British and American warships have challenged China’s sovereignty claims over the disputed waters by crusing by means of the realm. Final month Royal Navy officers carried out drills with their Singaporean counterparts within the South China Sea, whereas the UK’s Service Strike Group transited the realm en path to Japan.
Because the UK left the EU final yr, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has positioned “World Britain” on the centre of his international and defence coverage.
Regardless of chopping ties with Brussels, Britain’s international defensive position as a bulwark towards China should not be underestimated, in line with Dr Jonathan Sullivan from the College of Nottingham.
The China specialist and political scientist advised Specific.co.uk: “The UK post-Brexit is looking for a brand new international position.
“A few of the ‘World Britain’ discourse I’m certain is rooted in empire nostalgia and hubris, however the UK is a significant economic system and necessary navy energy, so we now have to take it significantly.”
JUST IN: Marburg virus: Skilled warned illness is ‘scary and lethal’ as WHO sounds alarm
The Authorities’s ‘Built-in Evaluation’ revealed this yr highlighted China’s “growing worldwide assertiveness”, together with its affect within the Indo-Pacific, because the “most important geopolitical issue on the planet as we speak”.
Dr Sullivan defined how within the South China Sea, Britain has aligned itself with the unfastened ‘Quad’ coalition of Australia, India, Japan and the US, in addition to the 5 Eyes Intelligence-sharing alliance.
Nonetheless, he additionally warned Britain’s navy actions within the area might complicate London’s ambitions to proceed doing enterprise with Beijing.
He mentioned: “The Built-in Evaluation from March made clear that the UK is searching for an even bigger position within the Indo-Pacific, and the latest Navy deployment is an embodiment of that.
The Built-in Evaluation particularly highlighted the South China Sea as a maritime choke level the place there’s “rising stress.”
It additionally mentioned: “The numerous influence of China’s navy modernisation and rising worldwide assertiveness inside the Indo-Pacific area and past will pose an growing threat to UK pursuits.”
China says it has jurisdiction over the entire South China Sea, a declare that’s disputed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, which all have counterclaims.
Beijing has angered its neighbours by developing synthetic reefs, islands and runways within the South China Sea.
From final yr into 2021, China has additionally ramped up its navy exercise within the sea by holding drills, sparking fears amongst consultants it might be gearing up for battle.
One such potential flashpoint may very well be Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway Chinese language province that can in the future be reunified with the mainland.
The self-governing island democracy has mentioned that dozens of Chinese language navy plane have flown by means of its air defence identification zone this yr.