British carrier strike group to make port calls in Japan in Sept.
Written by tokyoclub on July 20, 2021
BREAKING NEWS: U.K. to deploy 2 patrol ships “permanently” to Indo-Pacific: Wallace
Britain’s aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and its strike group will make port calls in Japan in September and conduct joint exercises with the Self-Defense Forces, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Tuesday.
Kishi unveiled the plan, apparently intended to counter China’s rising assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, at a joint press announcement with his British counterpart Ben Wallace after their meeting in Tokyo.
The Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s largest warship, and its group will be dispersed among ports in Japan, Kishi said. U.S. and Dutch naval vessels will accompany the British strike group.
File photo shows the Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s largest warship, sailing into her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base, England, in November 2017. (Getty/Kyodo)
The Japanese and British defense ministers held talks to coordinate the joint exercises involving the SDF and the British aircraft carrier strike group dispatched to the western Pacific, where China is increasing its military influence.
At the outset of the talks, Kishi welcomed Britain’s contribution to the Indo-Pacific region. The aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s largest warship, and its strike group departed Britain in May to showcase London’s increased engagement in the area.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi (far R) and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace (far L) meet at the Japanese Defense Ministry on July 20, 2021, in Tokyo. (Pool Photo)(Kyodo)
“Together we will send a message to the world that further strengthening of defense cooperation between Japan and Britain will contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and in the international community,” Kishi said.
British Defense Secretary Wallace said in response it is the two like-minded countries’ duty “to protect those that are unable to protect themselves from adversaries that will threaten them.”
Earlier this month, an anti-piracy military drill was conducted in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia in East Africa, involving the Queen Elizabeth and the MSDF destroyer Setogiri and P-3C patrol planes.
In addition to its alliance with the United States, Japan is seeking to deepen security ties with like-minded countries that share democratic values.
Japan and Britain are also scheduled to discuss enhanced defense cooperation, including over the development of engines for the Air Self-Defense Force’s next fighter jet, Defense Ministry officials said.