China Accuses US of Intensifying Arms Race by Creating AUKUS
BEIJING (Sputnik) - The newly-formed AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) defence alliance threatens stability in the region and provokes an arms race, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on 16 September.
According to Zhao, the AUKUS treaty "seriously undermines regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and harms international non-proliferation efforts".
"This proves once again that these countries are using nuclear exports as a tool for geopolitical games", the spokesman said at a briefing, adding that any regional mechanism "should not harm [the] interests of third countries".
On Wednesday evening, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison together with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden declared the formation of the new AUKUS defence and security partnership to "protect and defend [the] shared interests" of these countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australia will receive at least eight nuclear submarines as part of the newly-formed alliance. The first initiative under the AUKUS treaty will be the creation of nuclear-powered submarine technology for the Royal Australian Navy.
Prior to Wednesday's announcement, the Australian TV channel ABC reported that Australia had decided to create new nuclear submarine fleet and to abandon the contract with the French Naval Group worth 90 billion Australian dollars (US $66 billion) in favor of a joint project with the United States and Great Britain, which offered Australia "a conventional submarine of exceptional quality." The decision was explained by the acceleration of changes in regional security.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, in response to the formation of the defensive partnership between the United States, Great Britain and Australia, has already urged countries to get rid of the Cold War mentality and to refrain from creating alliances against anyone.
Over the last several months, US warships have intensified routine transits through the Taiwan Strait, prompting Beijing to lodge protests over the said actions. China has repeatedly stated that the Taiwan issue is the most sensitive in bilateral relations between Washington and Beijing, as it considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and routinely protests whenever US warships transit the strait.
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