China threatens military response if UK warships go near disputed islands

Alistair Bunkall – Sky News Sept 10, 2019

HMS Queen Elizabeth approaches New York. Click to enlarge

China has warned Britain against sailing ships through disputed waters in the South China Sea, saying that such a move would be “hostile” and hinting that Beijing would be forced to responded militarily.

Reacting to a suggestion that the UK might send its aircraft carrier close to the contested Spratly Islands, with US jets onboard, China’s Ambassador to the UK said Britain “should not do this dirty job for somebody else”.

Speaking to the Defence Correspondents’ Association in London, Liu Xiaoming rejected the argument that the Royal Navy would be upholding international rules concerning Freedom of Navigation.

“The South China Sea is a vast ocean, it is three million square kilometres wide, we have no objection to people sailing around there but do not enter Chinese territorial waters within twelve nautical miles.

“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.”

Construction on Fiery Cross Reef, in the Spratly Islands, shown in March 9, 2017, satellite image. Click to enlarge

The Spratly and Paracel Islands sit in strategic shipping lanes and are variously claimed by a number of nations in the region including China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The United States navy conducts regular freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea to challenge China’s territorial claim.

Washington accuses Beijing of illegally building military facilities and installations on some of the islands, but China responds by labelling America as a bully and provocative.

In February last year, the former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said that Britain must be ready to use “hard power” to deter adversaries and so the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth would be sent to the South China Sea on her first operational deployment.

The Chinese Defence Attaché, speaking alongside the Ambassador at the same event, added: “If the US and UK join hands in a challenge or violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, that would be hostile action.”

But the UK government responded by saying it is opposed to “militarisation” of the South China Sea and insisting the aircraft carrier would still visit the South Pacific in 2021: “The UK has enduring interests in the region and is committed to maintaining regional security.

“The presence of international navies in the South China Sea is normal and the Royal Navy is no exception to this,” a spokesman told Sky News.

“We remain committed to asserting rights of freedom of navigation at sea and in the air as provided for by international law.”

Ambassador Liu also said that China would be forced to intervene in Hong Kong if the state’s security forces lost control.

“If the riots become uncontrollable for the Hong Kong government, China cannot sit on its hands and watch. Hong Kong is part of China. We can’t watch this violence go on and on.”


6 responses to “China threatens military response if UK warships go near disputed islands”

  1. well china is right
    what has it got to do with the UK ?
    we should try and run our own country first

  2. Let me prophesize. After Brexit Britain will come back to truly aggressive foreign policy we know from the times of the Ugly British Empire. Like the US, Britain will never be short of money, money for (Jeewish) wars. This future is coming.

    Civilizing Ugly British Empire was a bright side of the European Union. Folks – in the future you may start missing golden times of the UK in the EU for this very reason, lack of open wars. Britain was always involved in small/hidden wars, eg. Libya, Yugoslavia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela, Somalia, Yemen, etc. but you have never had open war during EU membership.

  3. WHAT ?? “Hong Kong part of China.” Well why was I charged last year for importing 6 Rambutans from a Foreign country ??? And they were exported to HK. from China in the first place !

  4. UK is run by imperialist nutters. Let’s hope China sinks it.

  5. The idea that Britain could conduct an open war with any but the weakest country is laughable. As is now clear we can’t even govern the country let alone conduct a full blown war. Yes, the establishment elite still have some power, but even this is diminishing. The political system in Britain is disfunctional, and sooner or later the truth that Britain is in dire financial straits will have to be faced.

  6. Hi Patrick,
    Thank you for those kind words, but like most people you do not seem to be aware of the changes in Britain, in the people.

    No British Prime Minister now would get away with getting involved in a war. unless it was a direct threat to the British Isles.

    Tony Blair is lucky to be a free man. Most Brits would like to see him a prisoner in the Tower of London.