Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi welcomed the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and said the participation of European countries in the Indo-Pacific region is important for peace and stability, as China develops its military power and influence in the region, the Associated Press reported.
Casey meets Strike Group Commander Commodore Steve Morehouse on board the aircraft carrier. HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, near Tokyo, last week. It is the largest and most powerful British warship. The Royal Navy says HMS Queen Elizabeth is capable of carrying 40 aircraft, including an F-35 pirate fighter jet.
As the Chinese navy presses its territorial claims in the South China Sea, Japan seeks to expand its military cooperation outside the United States. The aircraft carrier participated in joint exercises with warships from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and Japan.
“European countries’ interest in unilateral efforts to change the situation in the East and South China Seas (China) … contributes to peace and stability in the region. The Associated Press quotes Kishi as saying that the port visit will further enhance Japan-British security cooperation. “Pacific is part of a visionary effort led by Washington and Tokyo,” he said.
China’s military influence in the region, and rising tensions with Taiwan and the United States, have caused concern in Japan. It opposed the presence of the Chinese near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China also claims ownership of these islands and calls them Diaoyu.
Upon his arrival in Yokosuka, Rio Admiral Morehouse said the strike committee meeting was “part of the UK’s commitment to strengthening our diplomatic, economic and security ties in the Indo-Pacific region.” He said the interaction would elevate Japan-UK relations to a “new level”.
“The presence of the Carrier Strike Group embodies the UK’s support for the freedom and security of the region’s key trade routes and an international order in which all countries benefit,” Moorehead said.
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