08:43 GMT +319 October 2017
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    The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is pulled from its berth by tugs before its maiden voyage, in Rosyth, Scotland, Britain June 26, 2017.

    UK to Send Brand New Ships to Disputed South China Sea for Drills

    © AP Photo/ Russell Cheyne
    Asia & Pacific
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    The United Kingdom will send two aircraft carriers on freedom of navigation exercises in the disputed South China Sea, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the media outlet, UK’s modern HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is the largest ship built for the UK Royal Navy and it is currently undergoing tests.

    The vessel should be accepted by the navy by the end of 2017. The second ship, the HMS Prince of Wales, is currently being fitted out in a Scottish shipyard.

    "One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area… to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade," Johnson said during his visit to Sydney as quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

    The South China Sea area is a disputed region claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam, as it is believed that it has vast energy resources. China claims 90 percent of the area and has repeatedly said that all of the country's activities in the region are China's sovereign right. China also constructs artificial islands and enhances its military presence in the sea.

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    Tags:
    freedom of navigation, Boris Johnson, Britain, South China Sea
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