Tokyo [Japan], April 28 (ANI): Japan has welcomed the United Kingdom's plan to deploy a fleet led by its new flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, to the Indo-Pacific region.
Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo said that he is confident that Britain will promote peace and stability in the region by demonstrating its involvement in defence to maintain and strengthen a free and open Indo-Pacific, NHK reported.
The Queen Elizabeth carrier will lead a flotilla of Royal Navy ships -- as well as a U.S. Navy destroyer, a frigate from the Netherlands and a squadron of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B fighter jets -- taking the vessels through the flashpoint South and East China seas, The Japan Times reported.
It will make stops in India, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, according to the British Ministry of Defence.
The British carrier strike group which includes HMS Queen Elizabeth and 18 F-35B stealth fighters, two destroyers, two frigates and two support ships will have to sail through the South China Sea on its way to East Asia.
Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Recently, Australia's Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo, a top security official, said the possibility of war was increasing.
"Today, as free nations again hear the beating drums and watch worryingly the militarisation of issues that we had, until recent years, thought unlikely to be catalysts for war, let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again ... for the curse of war," Pezzullo said in a letter to staff on Anzac Day on Sunday, when Australia and New Zealand honour their war dead. (ANI)