British Base in Southeast Asia Would Antagonize China

A British amphibious warfare ship passed through the South China Sea in August and China, Asia’s strongest military power with a claim to almost the whole waterway, expelled it. Now the European country with a once powerful colonial foothold in Asia wants to set up a new base in the region, according to news reports citing the British defense secretary. A British base in Southeast Asia, where four countries dispute China’s maritime claims, would give ships quicker access to any further missions like the one August 31. More likely, Asian political experts say, it will let the U.K. challenge China’s influence — and get challenged back — in the resource-rich sea by helping British ships join allied American vessels for periodic naval exercises. Britain alone lacks the money and must mind relations with former colonies in Southeast Asia, they say. “They would have to team up with the U.S., otherwise it doesn’t make sense,” said Eduardo Araral, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s public policy school. “They would join the U.S. in their so-called freedom of navigation operations.” Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told the British news outlet The Telegraph in December that his country was looking for a new base in Southeast Asia. Newcomer to wider maritime conflict Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam contest China’s maritime sovereignty claims but have gone on the back foot since 2010 as Beijing uses technological and economic advantages to expand at sea. It has landfilled a series of tiny islets, some for military use. China claims about 90 percent of the sea that extends from Hong Kong to Borneo, spanning 3.5 million square kilometers. China and rival claimants in Asia value the sea for its fisheries and fuel reserves. The UK government does not have a claim. Washington regularly sends naval ships into the... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, British Base in Southeast Asia Would Antagonize China, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you British Base in Southeast Asia Would Antagonize China





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Published By: VOA NEWS - Wednesday, 9 January



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