Hong Kong( CNN) The UK has waded into a tense territory disagreement in the South China Sea, potentially infuriating Beijing.

Speaking in Australia Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson mentioned “one of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carrier that we have just constructed is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area.”

Johnson did not specify exactly where the carriers would be sent, but added the operation was designed to “vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade.”