China has had longstanding tensions with the USA over maritime military deployments in proximity to its own military bases in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

Chinese Defense Attaché to the UK, Su Guanghui has warned London that its decision to send the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the South China Sea would be seen as “hostile action” in Beijing.

The British Ministry of Defense announced the carrier’s deployment to the region by 2021 as part of the country’s participation in freedom of navigation operations, also being conducted by the USA and Australia.

However, China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming dismissed the claims that such operations promote freedom of movement in shipping lanes.

The South China Sea is a vast ocean and Beijing has no objection to people sailing around there but do not enter Chinese territorial waters within 12 nautical miles.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

If you don’t do that, there shouldn’t be a problem. The South China Sea is wide enough to have free navigation of shipping.

The UK and China have already had a conflict over the Royal Navy’s actions in the South China Sea (SCS), namely over the HMS Albion amphibious assault ship sailing near the Paracel Islands, a disputed archipelago currently controlled by China.

Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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