Monday, February 09, 2015

Force FPDA

Britain is prepared to send military force to the South China Sea in the case of threats to British interests:

The United Kingdom would be prepared to deploy military forces to the Asia-Pacific region should political and military tensions in the region cause a deterioration in the security situation, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in Singapore on 30 January. ...

Hammond said that while the United Kingdom does not take a position on the underlying sovereignty disputes in the South and East China seas, it rejects a power-based order in Asia and that territorial disputes in the region should be resolved according to international rules.

The United Kingdom, he noted, has an important stake in Asian security given that GBP3 trillion (USD4.52 trillion) worth of trade passes through the South China Sea annually. As such, the UK remains committed to the regional multilateral security pacts known as the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA) alongside Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore. The FPDA, established in 1971, is still the only formal multilateral defence arrangement in South East Asia. ...

The FPDA was conceived with the intention of sending a firm message that any attack on Malaysia and Singapore would precipitate the involvement of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in response.

Let's hope that the British don't have to borrow a French carrier to provide naval air support, eh?

I haven't been so comforted about security in the South China Sea since Force Z set sail.

This one is three letters better!

Look, I don't mean to be quite so flippant. I'm grateful that Britain would send help to Asia. Their military is shrinking to alarmingly low levels, but they are still quite good.

But let's not be confused that sending a thin red line around the world adds much heft to the balance of power out there. The Chinese could with some justification say that they'd respond to such a deployment by calling the police.