LONDON (Reuters) -The first operational deployment of Britain's flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to Asia will show countries such as China that Britain believes in the international law of the sea, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.
Johnson said the Carrier Strike Group, which will interact with more than 40 nations on the deployment through the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and South China Sea to Japan, would project Britain's values as well as its military capabilities.
"One of the things we'll be doing clearly is showing to our friends in China that we believe in the international law of the sea, and in a confident but not a confrontational way, we will be vindicating that point," he told broadcasters on board the carrier in Portsmouth Naval Base, south England.
"We don't want to antagonise anybody, but we do think that the United Kingdom plays a very important role, with friends and partners, the Americans, the Dutch, the Australians, the Indians many, many others, in upholding the rule of law, the international rules-based system on which we all depend."
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Alistair Smout and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)