Chinese state media claims UK foray into South China Sea is just 'attention-seeking'

Chinese state media claims UK sailing in South China Sea is attention-seeking

The Royal Navy plans to sail in the South China Sea (Stock image)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Chinese state media has claimed the UK is attention-seeking by planning for a British warship to sail next month in the South China Sea.

The Global Times has claimed the event is a way for the UK to justify its existence and has called on the British defence ministry to explain the reason for the trip.

The newspaper said: “If not provocation, the Royal Navy should behave modestly when passing through the South China Sea.

“By acting tough against China, Britain’s Ministry of Defence is trying to validate its existence and grab attention."

It also commented on funding problems for the UK's defence, claiming due to a tight budget "it appears a difficult mission for the Royal Navy to come all this way to provoke China."

Whilst visiting, Australia defence secretary Gavin Williamson said sailing in the area will assert the rights of freedom of navigation, The South China Morning Post reported.

The trip was first announced six months ago, but is expected to increase tension between the UK and China, as the country claims it rules over the area.

China has created several military facilities on parts of land in the South China Sea, but Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines also claim the sea is theirs.

China has often accused countries of attempting to cause trouble in the disputed area, and the foreign ministry has said it hopes “relevant sides don’t try to create trouble out of nothing."