Boris Johnson sends ‘non-confrontational’ message to China
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The two leads spoke about plans for the UK’s Carrier Strike Group to visit the region later this year as part of a seven month maiden deployment. Earlier this week, nine ships, 32 aircraft, and 3,700 personnel started a global tour, interacting with more than one fifth of the world’s nations.
The fleet includes the new flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and will lead six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation.
The deployment aims to show off the strength of the UK’s military and demonstrate Britain’s commitment to tackling future threats on the world stage.
Mr Johnson spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga about the tour on the phone this morning.
The Carrier Strike Group is due to visit Japan as part of its deployment.
A Downing Street spokesman said following the call: “The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Suga reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the UK-Japan relationship and looked forward to the UK’s Carrier Strike Group visiting Japan later this year.”
The show of Britain’s military capability comes amid growing Chinese aggression in the region and Russia’s continued international malice.
Japan and the UK are each other’s closest security partners in Asia and Europe respectively.
At a virtual meeting of ministers earlier this year the two countries vowed to deeper defence and security co-operation.
Ahead of the Carrier Strike Group’s deployment earlier this week, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff said the tour would send a “strategic message” around the world.
He said: “We will have many audiences.
“China and Russia will be just two of them.”
In a clear warning to Beijing, he added: “I don’t expect to see aggression from China when UK forces with their allies are going about activity in a very legal and clear manner.
“We’ve got to put an onus on these countries to behave responsibly.
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“We’re behaving responsibly and we will expect other nations to behave responsibly as well.”
The military deployment was one of a number of issues raised in the phone call between the British and Japanese leaders.
The pair spoke ahead of the G7 in Cornwall next month when Mr Johnson and Mr Suga will meet face-to-face.
“The Prime Minister spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga this morning ahead of the UK’s G7 Summit next month.
“The leaders discussed their aims for the upcoming Summit, including their commitment to make progress on beating coronavirus globally, tackling climate change, preserving biodiversity and nature, and increasing girls’ access to education around the world.
“The Prime Minister expressed his support for the Tokyo Olympics, and noted Japan’s efforts to ensure the Games can take place safely,” the No10 official said.
“The Prime Minister thanked Prime Minister Suga for his support for the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“They looked forward to seeing each other in Cornwall in two weeks’ time.”
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