According to some MPs, Britain needs to send aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions in the region. However, experts have different views on how important gestures are.
As part of UK-led freedom of navigation, UK airlines will be deployed in the Indo-Pacific region later next month. The long-awaited voyage is foretold as a warning against bullying of Beijing’s neighbors in the South China Sea.
Robert Clark, a defense researcher at the Henry Jackson Association (HJS), said the strategic message sent by airlines by going to the South China Sea is important.
If the Chinese administration is allowed to promote its claim in areas such as the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands, “it may go further into a chain of third islands, including, for example, US and British territories. Just to be bolder, Clark told the Epoch Times that it would give Beijing the ability to close the important sea lanes that “the whole world economy really supports.”
Beijing recently stepped up its military operations near Taiwan as it tried to force the Taipei government to accept Beijing’s claim of sovereignty.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, chairman of the British Defense Select Committee and former Conservative leader, told Tobias Ellwood. Telegraph They believe that the carrier strike group, led by British HMS Queen Elizabeth, should navigate the Taiwan Strait on its way to Japan.
Elwood said it would otherwise defeat the purpose of the “to confront China’s authoritarianism.”
James Rogers, co-founder and principal investigator of the Think Tank’s Geostrategy Council, said he believes Taiwan is less controversial.
The South China Sea is “where China makes many illegal and illegal claims regarding both the various counterfeit and artificial islands that China has built on the Coral Atoll, but thus some around the so-called” straits “. Rogers, who has established a “baseline,” told the Epoch Times, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“It’s a controversial area and a place where freedom of navigation must be upheld. In other areas it’s less disputed, so it depends on the point of view,” he added.
According to The Telegraph, Queen Elizabeth of HMS “avoids” the Taiwan Strait to avoid stimulating China’s administration, but this has not been confirmed by the Ministry of Defense.
Clark told The Epoch Times that Britain “remains deliberately ambiguous on Taiwan’s issues” in order to maintain leverage.
He said passing through the Taiwan Strait would be a “clear political message of support”, a message that Britain should send.
“There is no good reason Britain can’t do this,” Clark told The Epoch Times on Friday. “And in fact, it is necessary in the face of an increase in Chinese fighters against Taiwan.”
Mr Clark said the Chinese administration is constantly seeking dictations in the waters of the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and increasingly the South Pacific.
“The Taiwan Strait is actually [a] Part of the South China Sea. It’s an extension of that militant Chinese action, and I feel he can do most of what he wants, “says Clark.
“And this is a large and important way that the UK-led carrier strike group can actually counter and mitigate it, and in fact … keep China’s actions and partner in the region. It doesn’t just allow most bullying and control on an ongoing basis, including Taiwan. “
The HMS is not the first warship to pass through the Taiwan Strait. The French Navy’s Vendemier passed through the strait in April 2019.
As a result of the passage, France was not invited to a naval parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Navy, and Beijing said it had made a “severe statement” with France about the so-called “illegal” passage.
Clark said that if Britain chose to take action, precedent would be easier and there would be plenty of high seas between Taiwan and China’s exclusive economic zone: “Carrier strike groups are legal under UN treaties. You can pass it legitimately. Law, the law of the sea. “
But Clark also recognized that passing through the Taiwan Strait would provoke a Chinese reaction, he said he couldn’t guess, and how welcome Taiwan was to that idea. It’s hard to say.
“It is that we have to seriously consider whether they have crossed the Taiwan Strait in order to mitigate the potential Chinese backlash against both Britain and Taiwan, which is clearly communicated well in advance with Taiwan. Must be, “he said.
On June 18, 2019, in addition to Vendemia, two Royal Canadian Navy vessels also sailed in the Taiwan Strait.
HJS Chinese expert Gray Sargent said there are other ways Britain can help Taiwan, apart from sending warships through the Taiwan Strait.
“The United Kingdom and its allies should work to reduce Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation and make the country’s economy more resilient. In this regard, the exact route of HMS Queen Elizabeth is here as well. No, “said the sergeant on Monday in an email to the Great Era.
He said efforts to support Taiwan’s bidding to participate in a comprehensive and progressive agreement for a trans-Pacific partnership would be better used. Taiwanese people. “
Reuters contributed to this report.