Britain faces military stand-off as China warns it greets wolves with shotguns

Beijing has reacted with fury to a British aircraft carrier's voyage through the South China Sea.

After HMS Queen Elizabeth journeyed through the East Asia strait, Chinese military leaders warned of potential ramifications.

In a chilling statement, an unidentified military leader told the state-backed Global Times that China would respond harshly to any provocation.

They said: "[We] will closely monitor the UK warships’ activities, stand ready to deal with any improper acts, and also see this as a chance for practise and for studying the UK’s latest warships up close."

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Pro-government defence expert Wu Shicun used a vivid image to warn the UK.

He commented: “China receives friends with good wine and deals with wolves with a shotgun."

The striking escalations come just days after China completed its 20th military drill exercise of 2021.

The latest training included simulations of an island invasion, a provocative nod to tensions with neighbouring Taiwan.

The Queen Elizabeth was accompanied by Dutch and American ships plus its own support vessels.

Launched in 2014 at a whopping £3bn cost, HMS Queen Elizabeth can carry 72 state-of-the-art jets and 250 highly trained soldiers.

Its voyage served as a show of strength by the UK – and a stern reminder from key NATO allies that China's attempts to dominate international waters won't be taken lightly.

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Last week UK defence secretary Ben Wallace said it was "our duty" to protect the South China Sea from aggressive Chinese claims over the waters.

The hotly-contested sea has been fought over by South Asian countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and others.

Trade flows which depend on free access to the waters amount to trillions of pounds each year.

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Meanwhile French president Emmanuel Macron has blessed his country's strategic pivot to Asia with a visit to the French Pacific territories.

He has visited Tahiti and Japan so far during his visit, vowing to counter China's "predatory" behaviour.

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