Britain said on Tuesday it would begin formal negotiations with Japan to deepen their defence relationship, as part of a shift in London's strategic focus towards the Indo-Pacific region, which has angered China.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the talks would seek to create conditions for a "deeper and more complex defence engagement programme", and terms for British and Japanese personnel in each other's countries.
Last week Britain joined the US and Australia in a new Indo-Pacific security alliance that will give Canberra the technology and capability for nuclear-powered submarines, a move that was denounced by China.
Beijing's ambassador to London said earlier on Tuesday that foreign attempts to contain China would always fail and major powers should avoid what it considers to be colonial thinking that could lead to a confrontation.
Britain's Defence Ministry said the talks with Japan would send a clear signal about the determination of the two countries to support rules-based international order.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking to develop his vision of a "Global Britain" after the country left the EU.
A British frigate sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Monday on its way to Vietnam.