THE ROYAL Navy is due to deploy a third ship to the Asia-Pacific as tensions in North Korea mount.
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson announced today that HMS Albion has been deployed to north-east Asia to safeguard free trade, partake in joint training and exercises, and support UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
In the coming months HMS Albion, alongside HMS Sutherland, will be contributing to the international efforts to monitor prohibited trading at sea by the DPRK, which provides a major source of funding for its illegal nuclear programme.
While in the region, both vessels will visit several ports and take part in joint training with allies and partners, including the US, the Republic of Korea and Japan.
HMS Argyll, which is set to call Portsmouth home before 2023, will arrive in the region later in the year, when she will participate in a Five Power Defence Arrangements exercise with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore before also travelling to north east Asia for further joint training and exercises.
Mr Williamson said: ‘Our armed forces are at the forefront of global Britain, and the deployment of HMS Albion, Sutherland and Argyll demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our international responsibilities and to maintaining peace, security and prosperity in the region.
‘Until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions, the UK will continue working closely with partners and allies to keep up pressure and strictly enforce existing sanctions, ensuring not only regional security but that of the UK as well.’
The deployment of these three ships will means the Royal Navy will have a vessel in the strategically critical Asia-Pacific region for the first time since 2013 and will have an almost unbroken presence there this year.