13 February 2018
Beijing has warned against “stirring up trouble” in the South China Sea after Britain vowed to send a warship through the heart of disputed waters next month.
Gavin Williamson, British Defence Secretary, said HMS Sutherland, an anti-submarine frigate, would sail through the sea on its way home from Australia to assert freedom of navigation rights.
Richard Bitzinger, a regional defence expert with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the international community was powerless to react to China’s assertiveness in the region despite the UK’s tough words.
“It’s all huff-and-puff, and everything stays the same,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is, China has created a fait accompli with these islands. The South China Sea is part of its strategic national interests, and hence Chinese presence in the South China Sea is permanent and perhaps becoming hegemonic. And there is very little anyone can do about it.”
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 14/02/2018