Royal Navy ship sails near disputed islands in South China Sea

Last month, Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Albion sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China in a freedom of navigation operation.

Illustration: Royal Navy file photo of HMS Albion

The ship passed close to the Paracel Islands, which are controlled by China but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, on August 31.

This was in line with international law and norms as HMS Albion conducted freedom of navigation exercise, Reuters cited a spokesperson for the Royal Navy as saying.

However, China claimed that the ship had entered the country’s territorial waters around the islands.

Consequently, the Chinese Navy ordered the British ship to leave, sending a frigate and two helicopters to the disputed area, according to Reuters.

In August, HMS Albion (L14) participated in the first joint amphibious exercise of the Royal Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force in Japanese waters.

The exercise was conducted with the purpose of improving the tactical capabilities of the Japanese Self Defense Force and enhancing coordination with the British Armed Forces.

Earlier this week, HMS Albion also visited Vietnam and is now back on patrol in the Asia Pacific Region.