United Kingdom sends aircraft carrier to Pacific in show of strength to China

Defence Secretary speech

TOUGH Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson wants the UK to be'hard militarily

On her first operational mission, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be sent to the Pacific region where Beijing has been involved in a dispute over navigation rights and territorial claims in the South China Sea.

"Significantly, British and American F-35s will be embedded in the carrier's air wing, enhancing the reach and lethality of our forces and reinforcing the fact that the U.S. remains our very closest of partners". He will warn that Russian Federation and China are blurring the boundaries between peace and war and declare that Britain must stand up to those who "flout global law", a principle that "may lead to us intervene ourselves".

Britain and its allies must be prepared "to use hard power to support our interests".

And he will also insist NATO must be prepared to face up to the new threat posed by a "resurgent" Moscow following the collapse of the US-Russia intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty.

"Such action from Russian Federation must come at a cost", Williamson will say in the speech, according to the text.

Additionally, Williamson is expected to uphold the UK's interventionist policy and will say that the cost of failing to act in global crises had often been "unacceptably high", and "To talk but fail to act risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger".

The Defence Secretary will say the Queen Elizabeth's first mission will be part of "making Global Britain a reality".

Williamson, in his speech, will outline plans to adopt a stronger military stance after Brexit, including sending its new aircraft carrier to the Pacific and investing in enhanced offensive cybercapabilities.

Mr Williamson said yesterday: "To complement leading edge technology from the F-35, I have made a decision to use the Transformation Fund to develop swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defences".

"If we do not, we will find ourselves with fewer options when we face threats in the future".

He will also say that the United Kingdom has its "greatest opportunity" to redefine its position on the world stage after Brexit.

'Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history.

The defence secretary won an extra £1.8bn for defence in the last budget.

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