South China Sea row erupts as Beijing threatens to 'expel' UK warships in retaliatory move | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

South China Sea row erupts as Beijing threatens to 'expel' UK warships in retaliatory move

The South China Sea is a highly contested region and faces claims from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. Diplomatic relations between the nations are already extremely strained. Over recent months, Beijing has asserted its dominance in the region and has built several military bases on some of the atolls.

In a show of strength to Beijing, HSM Queen Elizabeth and her carrier group are set to sail through the contested region.

But Chinese state media has warned any vessels which stray too close to islands it lays claims to will be "expelled".

A Beijing academic told state media that "China welcomes friends with wine but deals with wolves with a shotgun".

The UK carrier strike group is currently on a round-the-world tour as part of her maiden voyage.

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