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China: protests against the passage of the HMS Albion

The ship was approached by Chinese navy helicopters

Yesterday, China protested against the United Kingdom by criticizing the British navy for "deliberately provoking the Chinese forces", given that the Landing Platform Dock (LPD) HMS Albion, with boron a contingent of Royal Marines and some helicopters, has passed near the Paracelsus Islands in the South China Sea in the last days of August. The Royal Navy ship was headed to Vietnam after being deployed near Japan, and it would appear that China sent a frigate and two helicopters to control it and keep it away from the disputed islands.

But if for the Chinese there has been an actual violation of the territorial waters, different is the British version that has ruled that it has sailed at a distance less than 12 nautical miles -limit sanctioned by international law. The real point is, however, that the precise area of the Pacific Ocean is challenged and claimed by many parties, since it is a key point in the passage of trade routes to Africa and Europe and China is implementing a "colonizing" policy to guarantee itself the main outposts.

Every passage of military ships in those waters is now being challenged by Beijing, while on the other side there are the United States who want to maintain the principle of free navigation in non-territorial waters, but the militarization and occupation of the islands of South China Sea could create a situation of high tension since China would make it a "national" sea, where to pass it would be necessary every time to request permission from Beijing. A paradoxical situation, which was also expressed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016, criticizing the actions taken by China.

The problem for now is only at the level of navigation, but if Beijing were to continue to pursue this policy soon even the air routes could be limited in that airspace.

M/A - 1214039

© World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl