TOKYO-The Minister of Defense of Japan on Monday welcomed the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth’s first call at a Japanese port, saying that as China’s military strength and influence grows, European countries’ participation in the Indo-Pacific region is the key to peace and stability.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi met on the aircraft carrier with Brigadier General Steve Moorhouse, the commander of the battle group.
The ship arrived at the U.S. Naval Base in Yokosuka near Tokyo on Saturday, September 4. With the expansion of the Chinese Navy and more and more territorial claims, Japan is seeking to expand military cooperation beyond the traditional alliance with the United States.
Before arriving in Yokosuka, Queen Elizabeth participated in joint exercises with warships from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan. The exercise is part of an effort to realize the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” vision led by Washington and Tokyo.
“European countries [China’s] Unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea… are conducive to peace and stability in the region,” Kishi Shin told reporters. “I expect that this port call will help the further development of Japan-UK defense cooperation. “
Japan is increasingly worried about China’s growing military influence in the region, as well as the escalation of tensions between Beijing and Taiwan and competition with the United States. Japan has repeatedly lodged protests with China over the increase in its activities near the Senkaku Islands controlled by Japan. China has claimed and called the Diaoyu Islands the Diaoyu Islands.
After arriving in Yokosuka, Moorhouse stated on Twitter that the strike team’s interaction is part of Britain’s “commitment to strengthen our diplomatic, economic and security relations in the Indo-Pacific region”. He said that this will bring the relationship between Japan and the UK “to a whole new level.”
“The existence of the Carrier Strike Group reflects the UK’s support for the freedom and security of important trade routes in the region, as well as its support for an international system that benefits all countries,” Moorhead said.
The strike team left the UK in May. The Queen Elizabeth was commissioned in 2017 and is the largest and most powerful warship in the UK. According to the Royal Navy, it can carry up to 40 aircraft, such as the F-35 stealth fighter.
Author: Yamaguchi Mari
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times