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[Sticky] General Press Cycle
If Mr Croft paid attention to news that doesn't involve him - something I speculate that he doesn't do - he would know that discussions with our friends and allies in the Pacific began well before Mr Croft made his ill-conceived speech. Moreover, these discussions concluded before he gave his ill-conceived speech. So I'd start by rejecting the claim that he somehow influenced government policy in East Asia. The only thing we firmly do is reject his idea of deploying British forces to Taiwan.
Second, if he were familiar with Royal Navy operations, he would know that Royal Navy deployments to the South and East China Seas are standard operating procedure and that the United Kingdom regularly undertakes freedom of navigation operations in this area. The operations are, historically, protected by the People's Republic but we continue them because freedom of navigation is important for the security of our friends and the safeguarding of commerce.
Finally, while there are to be increased naval operations in the South and East China Seas, there absolutely will not be the deployment of British ground forces beyond our current base in Borneo. We will absolutely not deploy British forces Taiwan, which is a recklessly irresponsible provocation. In concert with our allies, the government is pursuing a proportional response to Chinese actions in the East China Sea. We will not risk further inflammation by deploying British ground forces to Taiwan. We will not risk creating a severe military incident.
MP for Hammersmith
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