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People's Daily Online

British Defense Secretary: UK has no intention of conducting 'freedom of navigation' flights over South China Sea

People's Daily Online

By Zhang Huan (People's Daily Online) 17:46, October 12, 2017

The UK has no intention of provoking China by conducting "freedom of navigation" flights over disputed islands in South China Sea like the US, said British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon at the Conservative Party's annual meeting, reported on Oct. 12.

When asked whether the UK would conduct "freedom of navigation" operations over the South China Sea, the secretary said that although they will continue to exercise the right of navigation, they do not have any plans to conduct maneuvers over disputed islands to provoke China like the US, the Metro Express reported on Oct. 11.

The report said that neither Australia nor the UK has similar plan to follow the US, which conducted several "freedom of navigation" flights during the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016 and thrice during the Trump administration.

A former Conservative Member of Parliament said that the UK's unwillingness to conduct the flights indicates its encouragement of Chinese investment and bilateral trade.

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