>> Fresh out of sea trials and sailing straight into a strategic hot spot. Once they're battle ready Britain plans to send its two massive new aircraft carriers to the South China Sea.>> One of the first missions of our two vast new aircraft carriers will be to sail through the Straits of Malacca, the route that currently accommodates a quarter of global trade.
>> Boris Johnson, the UK's Foreign Secretary, committing the ships to so-called freedom of navigation exercises. But they'll also be heading into highly contested, highly militarized waters, and a potential showdown with Beijing. China's island building and militarization in the South China Sea has alarmed Western powers. Britain's contribution might be some way off.
The first seaworthy ship is only now undergoing maiden trials off the coast of Scotland. But Johnson's statements come as he tours Australia, and touts the role of a more global, post-Brexit Britain.>> Really, it's to expand and to defend that ideal of freedom under the law that Britain and Australia are committed to working hand and hand.
>> A more military assertive Britain in the South China Sea will likely also please the US, another country the UK hopes to increase trade ties with. Currently the US is the main Western power sailing military hardware in the region. A show of force from Britain might help buy a better friendship.