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Huanqiu: France and Britain to Sail Warships to South China Sea to Satisfy their Sense of Presence in the Region

On June 4, the South China Morning Post reported that France and Britain would sail warships into the contested South China Sea to challenge Beijing. The announcement was made at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore “echoing the latest U.S. plan to ramp up its freedom of navigation operations to counter Beijing’s militarization in the region and its stance that territorial disputes should be a matter between China and its Asian neighbors.” An article, which Huanqiu published on June 5, quoted comments that a Chinese scholar made. He stated that the move that France and Britain took was just trying to “satisfy their sense of presence” in the region. “This is an obvious proactive move. What do Britain and France have to do with anything in the South China Sea? … China has never interfered with properly exercising Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea. …  The Asia Pacific region is a hot topic. Perhaps Britain and France want to gain advantages on certain political issues.  … They don’t want to be left alone and lose their ‘influence.”

1. Huanqiu, June 5, 2018
2. South China Morning Post, June 4, 2018