World

Britain willing to deploy military in Asia: Johnson

SYDNEY: Britain plans to play a bigger role in Asia after Brexit, including deploying its military to the area if necessary, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said yesterday.

Mr Johnson backed the campaign to quit the European Union and said the decision had given his country the opportunity to "think afresh" about its international role, while maintaining close ties with its EU partners.

MORE COMMITTED

"One of the purposes of my trip is to get over the message that we are now going to be more committed to the Asia-Pacific region and more committed to Australia," he told The Australian newspaper in Sydney.

"One of the things I find everywhere I go is that people want more Britain, not less Britain.

"They want a Britain that is more engaged, not less engaged.

"When I talk about global Britain they genuinely see the point.

"This (Asia) is an area of fantastic growth.

"It's also an area of tension.

"People want the involvement of a country that sticks up for a rules-based international system, that is prepared to deploy its military in the area, as we are."

Mr Johnson, who has also visited Japan and New Zealand on an Asia-Pacific swing, is attending annual talks in Sydney between the British and Australian foreign and defence ministers, focusing on security and trade.

High on the agenda is expected to be a British pitch to build Australia's next fleet of warships, with Spain and Italy also in the running for the lucrative deal to construct nine frigates. - AFP

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