11 Jan British Base in Southeast Asia Would Antagonize China [VOA article]
China claims about 90 percent of the sea that extends from Hong Kong to Borneo, spanning 3.5 million square kilometers. China and rival claimants in Asia value the sea for its fisheries and fuel reserves. The UK government does not have a claim.
Washington regularly sends naval ships into the sea to pressure China. It calls the missions “freedom of navigation operations.”
Earlier this month a U.S. warship passed through waters off the sea’s Paracel Islands, which China controls despite a competing claim from Vietnam.
Japan and Australia have sent their own ships to keep China in check, though less often. The UK would anger China if it fell into that line, scholars say.
“China would of course object heavily, but I think for the rest of Southeast Asian countries it’s not something new,” said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
Excerpted from the full article: British Base in Southeast Asia Would Antagonize China [Voice of America, 9 January 2019]