China will exploit new sailing routes to the Atlantic and threaten UK interests, warns First Sea Lord
This week the entire Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group gathered for the first time in the North Sea. The multinational group worked together to prepare for the more challenging exercise Joint Warrior, which begins this week
The First Sea Lord has warned that China will use new sailing routes to the Atlantic that will be opened up by the melting of the polar ice caps.
Speaking aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, Admiral Tony Radakin said the impact of climate change on the North Sea Passage would create "new world-class maritime trade routes that would" cut the transit time between Europe and Europe in half "Asia".
Admiral Radakin said, "If China sails its growing navy into the Atlantic, which route will it take, the long or the short?"
He warned that the free movement of "nations, their navies and especially their merchant ships" could be jeopardized if China uses these routes, as this would "threaten" "this concept" of free navigation.
"The world is becoming more competitive, more controversial," he added. “We have to play our role in this world. The more open and accessible the Far North becomes, the more competitive and competitive it becomes. "
Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defense Procurement, added: "Climate change is a reality, there is a real risk that it will open sea routes and we should expect those sea routes to be used."
Beijing has the world's largest fleet with 350 ships and submarines, according to a Pentagon report on the People's Liberation Army released in September.
Defense sources warned that the increasing size of the Chinese Navy remains a matter of concern as it is likely to become more active in what is considered to be Britain's “backyard”.
It is believed that defense chiefs fear a situation like the Strait of Hormuz, which sparked tensions last July after the British Royal Marines helped seize an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar, could develop, who was suspected of violating EU sanctions.
In retaliation, a British flag oil tanker was seized and anchored for two months after allegedly violating maritime rules.
Admiral Radakin also warned that the routes of the Far North "circle the coast of this resurgent Russia".
"A Russia that is now more active in the Atlantic, our backyard, than it has been for over 30 years," he said.
Last month, the Royal Navy showed the Kremlin it has no Arctic freedom by leading a multinational task force of warships and aircraft into the icy corridor:
HMS Sutherland, USS Ross RAS (Resupply at Sea) with RFA Tidespring during joint deployment in Northern Waters. - HMS Sutherland
In the first such operation in 20 years, American, Danish and Norwegian forces joined the Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland to demonstrate freedom of navigation over the Arctic Circle. Admiral Radakin added: “We're already doing a lot more in the far north.
"We will look to the 'far' far north, as we do in the Atlantic and elsewhere in the world, to work with our partners."
Meanwhile, he said while space and cyber made the world more transparent, the only place to hide was "under the sea."
He said that 97 percent of the data is transmitted over submarine cables and that "our adversaries are already threatening them". He said the government is determined to "develop new capabilities to protect these cables to counter this threat on behalf of everyone".
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