Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster has kept watch on a Chinese warship sailing through the English Channel this weekend.

Fresh from a five-month patrol with NATO in the waters of northern Europe, Portsmouth-based HMS Westminster was activated to monitor the progress of the destroyer Xian, say the Royal Navy in a release.

“Three weeks after her sister frigate HMS St Albans escorted the Chinese warship up the Channel and into the North Sea, Westminster did the same as the Xian returned from her participation in Russia’s annual Navy Days event in St Petersburg.

HMS Westminster met up with the guided-missile destroyer near the Dover Strait and shadowed her through busy merchant shipping as she sailed south through the English Channel.”

“The Royal Navy routinely monitors other country’s warships through territorial waters as part of our ongoing mission in support of the defence of the UK,” said Commander Will Paston, HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer.

“The Xian conducted herself in a safe and professional manner throughout.”

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It’s a shame the Chinese don’t reciprocate with professional escorting of Navy ships rather than the harassment that happens in the SCS.


Apparently the Xian sailed down the entire N Sea approaches to the Channel un-molested…..the Chinese will not have missed our failure to build enough frigates


To what purpose does a Chinese naval vessel have in the Channel? Why are they operating so far from their typical envelope? Is it simply tit for tat, aginst RN vessels in the SCS, or is there another purpose to their operations?

Steve R

It said in the article that th ship was sailing to and from St Petersburg.


Its a pity the Xian did not visit a UK port after St Petersberg.


Does it matter? As long as they conduct themselves professionally and in accordance with international laws, they can sail where they want. The RN do.

Rob Young

If we have have a reasonable right to operate in ‘their’ area, surely they have the same right to operate in ‘our’ area – demonstrating freedom of navigation.and for the same reasons. Showing the flag, visiting allies,

Paul T

maurice – it was on a goodwill visit – as was reported here previously,it also stopped off in France on the way to St Petersburg.


You might be right, people use to talk down German naval activity before WW2. Interestingly, they will not be bullied as they pass by, unlike Australian and RN vessels are in the SCS. Goodwill is a convenient cover for possibly something more sinister? However, don’t let us be too alarmist.


And I think China plans to be a true global navy in future with all the warships they are building.


Did anyone listen in to the radio this morning? Defence Journal were on there clarifying frigate orders for the RN in a debate about Scotland’s independence which looks increasingly likely as a result of Brexit. So if Scotland does go free, and that looks to happen now, what will become of the shipbuilding etc? The RN will get smaller and smaller I suppose. I bet lots are regretting voting Brexit. And no depending on Wales either because it looks like they have changed their minds too. What a mess.


“Sailing a message “ to the uk – the UK can do the same but just not back off from the Chinese Naval harassment. Ah – daft old me – I forgot – we have a dead cert beneficial to us free trade agreement sorted because of brexit so we won’t

bob carlisle
Please sign this new petition.
We desperately need more ships and our government needs to act. Please sign and share and force them to respond.


Do Chinese warships shadow British warships near china? Must not be to good for relations not trusting Chinese warships so have to shadow.


Why yes they do. Quite a bit more than that also. They also shined a laser at a RAN helo forcing it to land on its ship in another incident.