British aircraft carrier under China's gaze as it enters disputed waters in South China Sea
The HMS Defender is part of the Carrier Strike Group - ROYAL NAVY
The British aircraft carrier entered the South China Sea Tuesday evening, defense sources said Beijing will be watching from the air and underwater.
The Carrier Strike Group entered the controversial body of water on Tuesday. It is believed that HMS Queen Elizabeth will not sail on its maiden operational voyage through the contested cross-strait while in the region, although its return route has not yet been confirmed.
A defense source said China was expected to watch the group's movements both from the air and underwater.
When The Telegraph recently gained access to HMS Queen Elizabeth in Cyprus, there was heavy surveillance of the aircraft carrier by Russia, including in the sky, underwater and on the surface. At that time it was called the "cat and mouse game" by the passengers on board.
The warship crossed the Black Sea, where it had more to do with Russia.
However, the source also warned that they expected the passage through the South China Sea to be smoother than if Russia responded to the HMS Defender, a British Type 45 destroyer, as it passed the Black Sea in June.
Last month, Russia said one of its warships near Crimea had fired warning shots and a fighter plane had dropped bombs to force a British destroyer out of the waters Russia claims.
The Moscow Defense Ministry said it fired "warning shots" at the British warship before a Su-24M fighter plane dropped four bombs near the ship.
However, in response to Moscow's allegations at the time, Downing Street rejected the suggestion that the Royal Navy was "shot at or that the ship was in Russian waters" as "false".
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Defense said Tuesday that the UK could be more helpful as an ally if it did not focus on Asia.
Lloyd Austin said at a news conference in Singapore, "We have interests around the world and want to make sure we work together to address all of those interests."
He added: “[Military] resources are scarce. . . As we try to balance our efforts in different parts of the world, we not only want to help each other in the Indo-Pacific, but also make sure that we help each other in other parts of the world. "
"We [could] focus a little more here and [...] Britain can be more helpful in other parts of the world."
A Defense Department spokesman said: "The Carrier Strike Group legally operates the South China Sea, as does one-third of the world's shipping annually. It takes the most direct route through international waters to conduct exercises with allies and partners in the Philippine Sea.
“As the Secretary of Defense said to the UK Parliament in April, we are not going to the other side of the world to provoke. We will be confident, but not confrontational. "
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