The naval force is expected to enter some of the tensest waters in Asia next month. On Monday, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “When our Carrier Strike Group (CSG) sets sail next month, it will be flying the flag for Global Britain – projecting our influence, signalling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow.”
He added: “The UK is not stepping back but sailing forth to play an active role in shaping the international system of the 21st century.”
The naval fleet will be led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – on its first maiden voyage.
The aircraft carrier is Britain’s largest warship to ever be sent to sea.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth ship will be joined by two destroyers, two anti-submarine frigates, a submarine and two auxiliary supply ships, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The US is also expected to join the group with a guided-missile destroyer as well as a warship from the Netherlands.
READ MORE South China Sea: Beijing warns US ‘will lose’ fight as tensions soar
China has previously said it will take action to “safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interest” in the disputed waters.
On Wednesday, the Philippine defence ministry issued a stern warning to China to mind its own business after Manila conducted military exercises in the waters.
Delfin Lorenzana, Philippines Defence Secretary, told reporters that Beijing has “no authority or legal basis to prevent us from conducting these exercises” in the South China Sea because “their claims…have no basis”.
The Philippines started the maritime exercises on Saturday inside the country’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone to counter the “threatening” presence of Chinese boats.
On Monday, China’s foreign ministry told the Philippines to “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes”.