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Europe pushes back against Beijing with shows of Indo-Pacific muscle

UK and France join exercises with US and partners on doorstep of South China Sea

An F-35 fighter jet takes off from the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is set to join multinational exercises in the Philippine Sea. (Photo courtesy of the U.K. Defense Ministry)

SYDNEY/LONDON -- After its recent arrival in the Philippine Sea, the U.K.'s largest aircraft carrier and its strike group are set to join the U.S., Japan, Australia and New Zealand, along with fellow European power France, in exercises close to the South China Sea.

"It's rare for a British aircraft carrier to participate" in such events, a source in Japan's Defense Ministry said, highlighting the importance of the drills.

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