13 Apr 2021

British naval strike group invited to Palau

4:38 pm on 13 April 2021

The British Navy's carrier strike group would be welcome to visit Palau when it deploys to the Indo-Pacific this year.

The President Surangel Whipps made this comment to the Telegraph newspaper as the island attempts to counter growing Chinese intimidation.

He said his country is facing a pressing need to shore up allies, as Beijing steps up its efforts to lay claim to territory and the energy rich waters of the Indo-Pacific.

The British carrier strike group could encounter a hostile reception from China during its deployment, as Beijing vies for economic and military dominance of the region.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth Photo: courtesy of navalrecognition.com

Mr Whipps believes the deployment of partner country naval missions to the region, including the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK's new aircraft carrier, and its accompanying battle ships, will help "promote peace and security."

He added: "We welcome the UK fleet."

The choice of the Indo-Pacific for the maiden grand voyage of the carrier signals the growing focus of the UK and its allies on securing the patchwork of vital global trade routes that could be exploited for economic coercion.