China Warns Australia, UK, US On Submarine Deal
China warned Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States and said that the AUKUS grouping is treading a “path of error and danger” after they unveiled a nuclear-powered submarines deal.
“The latest joint statement from the US, UK and Australia demonstrates that the three countries, for the sake of their own geopolitical interests, completely disregard the concerns of the international communities and are walking further and further down the path of error and danger,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Tuesday.
United States President Joe Biden along with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday announced that Australia will purchase nuclear-powered attack submarines from the US to modernise its fleet, aimed at countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Addressing a joint statement after holding in-person bilateral talks on a US naval base in San Diego, California, the three leaders underscored their shared commitment to the 18-month-old trilateral security partnership.
Acquiring submarines powered by nuclear reactors puts Australia in an elite club and at the forefront of US-led efforts to push back against Chinese military expansion.
Wang accused the three Western allies of inciting an arms race, saying the security deal was “a typical case of Cold War mentality”.
The sale of submarines “constitutes a severe nuclear proliferation risk, and violates the aims and objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty”, Wang said at a regular news conference in Beijing.
The US official said that by the early 2030s, the US will deliver three conventionally armed nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines to Australia over the course of the 2030s, “with the possibility of going up to five if that is needed.”
In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced AUKUS – a new security partnership aimed at promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific that is secure and stable.
AUKUS is a plan to outfit Australia with nuclear-powered submarines in an unprecedented three-way defence partnership that seeks to counter China’s attempts to achieve naval dominance in the Pacific.
The key element of AUKUS was a US agreement to export to Australia its prized technology of nuclear-powered submarines, previously shared only with Britain when it designed its undersea fleet in the 1960s, reported Japan Times.
Nuclear-powered submarines would allow Australia in the coming decades to maintain an underwater presence for months on end, offering an advantage as China’s military expands its reach, reported Japan Times.
China in recent months reached a controversial security pact with the Solomon Islands and has not ruled out the use of force to take Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that is claimed by Beijing and effectively blocks it from projecting military power deeper into the Pacific.
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