The hard and soft force of the Royal Navy will give China a point, Boris Johnson said.
The Prime Minister visited the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at HMNB Portsmouth prior to the UK Carrier Strike Group’s first operational mission to take it to the Far East.
Speaking to BBC News, Johnson said, “This is an opportunity to work with friends and partners around the world. About 40 countries will join us in this Carrier Strike Group – we will travel through the Suez, through the Red Sea, in India through the South China Sea.
“Along the way, the people who go on this mission will do a number of things that they will project not only onto the hard power of Britain but also its military capabilities, but also our soft power, our values, what for we stand and our belief in democracy the rule of law. “
“One of the things we will do is show our friends in China that we believe in international law of the sea and that we will affirm this point in a confident but not confrontational manner.”
The Prime Minister’s comment came as the Department of Defense launched a new competition to build three long-awaited Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) fleet support vessels that will provide vital support to HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship, the HMS Prince of Wales.
Last year, the National Audit Office criticized the Department of Defense for “slow progress in developing the three new support vessels that are vital to the operation of Carrier Strike”.