The minister for Asia has visited one of the Royal Navy’s largest warships, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in Singapore.
The aircraft carrier is one of the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, and the flagship of the carrier strike group, which is currently deployed in the region following the Government’s integrated review of security and foreign policy earlier this year which outlined plans for a “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific.
The UK applied in February to be a part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade bloc that includes Singapore among its 11 members.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said that while in Singapore, the minister for Asia, Amanda Milling, met with Singapore’s senior minister of state for foreign affairs, Sim Ann, where they discussed the carrier strike group’s visit, the UK’s CPTPP application, and ongoing efforts to boost trade and the digital economy.
Ms Milling said: “The carrier strike group deployment to the Indo-Pacific is a demonstration of global Britain in action and the UK’s commitment to strengthening security ties in the region.
“It was an honour to go aboard and meet the crew. I have also met my Singaporean counterpart with whom we work so closely on regional and maritime security.”
A pleasure to visit Singapore and see how we are working together to make a safer and more prosperous region. From boosting trade and the digital economy to our close partnership on regional security and @HMSQNLZ, the UK-Singapore relationship is going from strength to strength pic.twitter.com/4o45LVIMG3
— Amanda Milling (@amandamilling) October 11, 2021
While in Singapore the FCDO also said the minister also participated in a dialogue session with key members of the British Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to improve collaboration on trade, education and sustainability.
The British High Commission also hosted a roundtable event with academics and think tanks, covering regional and security issues.
The FCDO has said the ship’s presence demonstrates the UK’s commitment to stability in the region, defending democratic values, enhancing defence and security cooperation and promoting free trade around the world.
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the city state on October 11 demonstrates the deep and longstanding UK-Singapore relationship, the Government said.
The carrier strike group of vessels, which is led by the UK but also includes a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands, set off on its maiden operational deployment in May, travelling through the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean to the Indo-Pacific and back again.
Singapore is one of over 40 countries which the carrier strike group will visit or exercise with during what is described as a global deployment.
The visit follows the UK joining a new trilateral partnership dubbed Aukus which will see the UK and US co-operate to develop a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian navy.
Aukus is widely seen as a counter to increasing Chinese military assertiveness in the region.
The Government has said it underlines the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.