22 February 2018
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  • » 02/13/2018, 12.52

    GREAT BRITAIN-CHINA

    London sends warship to South China Sea: 'Our right'



    The waters disputed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia. The HMS Sutherland will arrive in Australia and cross them on the way back. London: "Vigilance to any form of malign intent from China". There are vast deposits of oil, gas in the ocean and trade routes worth 5 trillion US dollars annually.

    Sydney (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A British warship will sail from Australia next month and cross the South China Sea, to assert the rights to freedom of navigation in the waters at the center of an international dispute that sees China as a protagonist according to Gavin Williamson, UK Secretary of Defense, affirms today.

    Taking advantage of the ambiguity of international law, Beijing claims a substantial slice of the sea. It includes the Spratly and the Paracels, islands disputed by Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia (almost 85% of the territories). To ensure the control of the important sea routes that cross these waters, the Chinese government has started the construction of a series of artificial islands, with military installations and lighthouses for navigation.

    Williamson says the HMS Sutherland (photo), an anti-submarine frigate, will arrive in Australia later this week. "It will sail through the South China Sea (on the way back) and make it clear that our navy has the right to do it," says the secretary at the end of a two-day visit to Sydney and Canberra (Australia). He does not clarify whether the frigate will sail within 12 nautical miles from disputed territory or an artificial island built by the Chinese, like US ships, but reports: "The United Kingdom firmly supports the US approach to navigation".

    In January, Beijing said it had sent a warship to expel an American destroyer that had "violated" its sovereignty. According to Williamson, it is important that US allies such as Britain and Australia "affirm their values" in the South China Sea. It is believed to hold vast deposits of oil and gas and is traversed by trade routes worth 5 trillion US dollars annually.

    Following the publication of new satellite images that show the deployment of radar and other equipment, in December China defended and defined its construction on the disputed islands, also claimed by its Southeast Asia neighbors, as “normal". Williamson reiterates the need to watch over "any form of malicious intent" in Beijing, which seeks to become a global superpower. "Australia and Britain see China as a country of great opportunities, but we should not be blind to Chinese ambitions and we must defend our national security interests," he said.

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    See also

    29/11/2012 CHINA - PHILIPPINES - VIETNAM
    South China Sea, China will allow the boarding of foreign ships
    After new passports with distorted maps, the communist regime announced that the Coast Guard of Hainan province can dock and control vessels for non-Chinese "who illegally enter territorial waters." The reference is to the maritime areas that Beijing is trying to snatch unilaterally from other governments in the area.

    17/06/2011 CHINA
    South China Sea: Beijing sending patrol ship
    Beijing plans to boost its naval presence in the area over the coming years. Tensions are growing because other stakeholders are not giving up their claims.

    15/06/2011 CHINA – VIETNAM
    South China Sea: Beijing excludes the use of force, but warns US
    Beijing tries to reduce tensions with Vietnam and the Philippines, urging them “to do more” for “peace and stability”. It also wants issues to be settled through bilateral talks. Hanoi prefers instead a “multilateral” approach, whilst Manila calls for US help. China warns that “internationalising” the issue will make matters worse.

    13/06/2011 VIETNAM – CHINA
    South China Sea: Beijing slams Vietnamese naval drill
    Vietnam started a nine-hour live naval drill in the morning; a second one is set for the evening. No missiles will be used. For Hanoi, the action is a routine annual exercise, but Chinese media see it as a military challenge against Beijing. In Vietnam, more protests are held against Chinese claims to the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

    25/07/2012 CHINA - GREAT BRITAIN
    London 2012: Olympic merchandise made by overexploiting Chinese workers
    A Hong Kong-based group releases findings of interviews with dozens of workers. Daily wages are less than US$ 10, but working hours are three times the legal limit. Working conditions are poor and security is nil. Workers lose half a day's wages if they are 5 minutes late. Group appeals to the IOC for a code of conduct for companies involved in the Olympic Games.



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