Melting ice caps will help China penetrate the Atlantic: British admiral
Shafaq News/ The melting of the polar ice caps will allow China's naval fleet to penetrate the Atlantic, dramatically increasing the reach of Beijing's military power, Britain's Chief of the Defence staff warned today.
Speaking at his annual address at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) conference, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said the melting 'will unleash a difficult new competition for minerals and resources, halve the time it takes for shipping to travel between Asia and Europe - and surely China's military forces will start to reach into the Atlantic'.
A recession of the ice caps would see trade routes open up, allowing ships to sail directly from the north of Europe to Asia in far shorter time frames, but would also enable China's rapidly expanding navy to patrol the High North.
Radakin, a former First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, told members of the defence and security think tank that while China was not as grave a threat as Russia, Iran or North Korea, President Xi Jinping's People's Liberation Army is cultivating its strength and holds significant advantages.
Admiral Radakin warned that 'these are extraordinarily dangerous times,' with tensions rising between the West and Russia, Iran, North Korea and China.
'As 2022 draws to a close, we have a world in which four separate geopolitical crises are unfolding in parallel.
'Whether it's (Vladimir) Putin's sense of impunity, Iran's meddlesome and destabilising behaviour, North Korea's outright belligerence or an increasingly authoritarian China.
'None of these challenges exist in isolation.
'Each is connected. Each represents a test of the rules which have guaranteed global security and enabled the spread of prosperity and opportunity throughout our lifetimes. And, in aggregate, are extraordinary and profound.'
Despite the gloomy assessment, he said the UK and the West 'can take confidence from the response'.
Turning his attention to Russia, Admiral Radakin said the Russian president 'has unintentionally assembled an extraordinary coalition of democracies against him.
'The result is Russia is losing. And the world is winning.
'Russia has failed - and will continue to fail - in all its war aims. Russia is diminished on the world stage.'
He went on to tell the audience that China was a 'tacit supporter of Russia', and warned that Britain must be 'more global in our outlook' and 'accelerate the transformation of the Armed Forces to become even more lethal and integrated'.
Though China has in recent months sought to avoid supporting Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine outright, Xi met with the Russian president earlier this year and the pair committed to developing their diplomatic and economic ties.
Putin and Xi are now set to meet again to discuss the events of 2022 in late December, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday, and examine where their alliance can be strengthened.
Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the newspaper that the date and the agenda of the meeting are already known, but an official announcement will come later.
Britain is now manufacturing a highly-capable underwater drone in efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Royal Navy amid security threats posed by Russia and the development of China's naval power.
The battery-powered 12-metre-long Cetus drone will offer a 'step-change' in the UK's ability to 'dominate the underwater battlespace', according to the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Ben Key.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said earlier this year: 'We've seen worries about critical national infrastructure, gas pipelines, internet cables. In order to meet the growing underwater threats the Royal Navy needs to be ahead of the competition with cutting-edge capabilities.'
The 17-ton Cetus is being made in Plymouth. It is easy to transport and can be rapidly deployed to wherever there is a threat. It is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in two years.
The Cetus drone will work in tandem with the Royal Navy's new frigates such as HMS Glasgow.
Scottish shipyards have orders to build 13 frigates, with the type 31 vessels being built by Babcock at Rosyth on the east coast and the Type 26 ships being constructed by BAE Systems on the Clyde.