lørdag 20. februar 2021

France sends warships to South China Sea ahead of exercise with US and Japan

France is stepping up its military presence in the South China Sea by planning two voyages through the disputed waters. The French navy said an amphibious assault ship the Tonnere and the frigate Surcouf had left their home port Toulon on Thursday and would travel to the Pacific on a three-month mission. The website Naval News reported that the ships would cross the South China Sea twice and take part in a combined exercise with the Japanese and US militaries in May.

Capt Arnaud Tranchant, commanding officer of the Tonnerre, told Naval News that the French navy would “work to strengthen” France’s partnership with the US, Japan, India and Australia – the so-called Quad. When asked whether he was planning to transit the Taiwan Strait, he said he has “not yet traced our roads in this area”.