Following in the wake of the US Navy, a British warship recently challenged China’s claims to the disputed South China Sea, provoking a confrontation with the Chinese military and triggering outrage in Beijing, Reuters reported.
The warship HMS Albion, an amphibious assault ship carrying a contingent of UK Royal Marines and one of three Royal Navy surface ships deployed to Asian waters this year, was confronted by the Chinese navy — a frigate and two Chinese helicopters — when it sailed close to Chinese-occupied territories in the Paracel Islands in late August, Reuters reported.
The Chinese navy instructed the British vessel to leave the area, and the situation did not escalate further, the report said.
“HMS Albion exercised her rights for freedom of navigation in full compliance with international law and norms,” a spokesperson for the Royal Navy told Reuters.
Beijing on Thursday strongly criticised London’s actions, calling the recent incident a provocation.