BRITISH NAVAL PRESENCE IN SOUTH CHINA SEA




Mustafa AY – TDO – 28.07.2017 Following China’s increasing military built-up in Woody island (one of the Parcel islands), which poses imminent threat to regional transaction, British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, promised to send the Royal fleet comprising of 2 new brand aircraft carriers named ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth’ and ‘HMS Prince of Wales’ to South China Sea (SCS). They will operate to oversee the international trade route in the region so that regional security will be able to be ensured.

After the N.Korea-USA conflict deepened, Pentagon decided on deploying its 3 aircraft carriers to East China Sea. But following Chinese army’s increasing presence in SCS, Pentagon implied that they would shift some of the forces in East China Sea through SCS. Both Johnson’s promise to send royal fleet and Pentagon’s implication on behalf of shifting forces to SCS created a predictable expectation of foundation of NATO-alike military pact in region. In case of such a pact’s establishment, many regional actors irrespective of whether having coast to SCS may high likely cooperate with USA and UK. These countries which are prone to join the pact vary from Japan, South China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India and Australia. Why they might join the bloc is that China’s full-scale sovereignty in South China Sea can put the money circulation made from the region at stake insomuch that the regional actors would lapse into long-term economic depression.

What’s up to UK in South China Sea? UK has a big piece from 5 Trillion $ worth ‘SCS cake’. In addition, that Australia and New Zealand under British Monarch’s rule confront with Chinese threat may be another factor leading British administration to take this action. But it is a big factor. In case of that UK had exhibited abstaining stance on SCS issue, UK would have lost its 300-year global image. Besides this, if China seizes the grip of whole SCS, it might probably pave the way to Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan special administrative regions for Chinese central government to take as well. These special administrative regions are very important to UK, because they were colonial regions under the hegemony of British Royal family. For this reason, many British-origin multi-national corporation’s Asian headquarters have been located on those regions. Thus, British administration can’t let China behave arbitrarily in the region, if those corporations face an immense risk that can’t be ignored.