Helicopters and F-35 fighters aboard the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth docked at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.
Victor Loh, CNBC
SINGAPORE – The UK plans to increase its presence in the disputed South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region, Royal Air Force Chief of Staff Air Chief said on Monday. Marshal Sir Mike Wigston.
Speaking aboard the Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth moored in Singapore, Sir Wigston said there would be a “more regular drumbeat of deployments”.
âIt would show up in both what you see of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force,â he said.
The UK’s Carrier Strike Group, led by the Â£ 3bn ($ 3.9bn) flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, is on its first 28-week deployment around the world in a force projection.
British High Commissioner to Singapore Kara Owen added that two Royal Navy warships had just passed through the Panama Canal and were heading for Asian waters. This follows an announcement in July to permanently affect two warships in the region.
“Our ambition is to have a more persistent presence here than any other country in [Europe]”, she said aboard the 65,000-ton vessel.
Along with the deployment of more military assets, the increased commitment will take the form of humanitarian aid and disaster relief, added Sir Wigston.
A view of the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth from the top of the aircraft carrier’s ski ramp.
Victor Loh, CNBC
Earlier, ships from the British Carrier Strike Group participated in an exercise marking the 50th anniversary of the Five-Power Defense Agreements with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
The deployment also comes as UK seeks more trade deals around the world after leaving the EU
In June, the UK began negotiations to join a larger Asia-Pacific free trade alliance known as the Comprehensive and progressive trans-Pacific partnership agreement.