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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

'Undermines Peace and Stability': China Condemns Move by AUKUS to Jointly Develop Hypersonic Weapons

Sputnik News

Tim Korso

In a joint statement on 5 April, the US, UK, and Australia announced that the three nations, which had previously signed the so-called AUKUS security pact, will be developing hypersonic weapons together. The announcement follows the first successful test of a US hypersonic glider after a series of reported failures.

China has condemned the announcement of cooperation in the development of hypersonic weapons by the members of the AUKUS security pact, warning that such a move could destabilise the entire region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian underscored that the development of hypersonic weapons by the pact, which Beijing considers to have been created to contain and deter China, might escalate tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

"This not only increases the risk of nuclear proliferation, jeopardises the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, but also escalates the arms race in the Asia-Pacific region, undermines peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region", Lijian said.

The diplomat did not elaborate about Beijing's concerns over nuclear proliferation. While the hypersonic missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the members of AUKUS said nothing about sharing such armaments with Australia - a non-nuclear country. At the same time, when AUKUS was created, the US and UK agreed to help Canberra obtain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, which, as Beijing argues, is a step towards nuclear proliferation.

On the day the cooperation on hypersonic weapons was announced by the US, UK, and Australia, Chinese envoy to the UN Zhang Jun issued a warning to AUKUS that such actions might plunge the world into a new security crisis akin to the one in Ukraine. Zhang Jun urged the three countries to refrain from such steps if they truly want to avoid a similar crisis in "other parts of the world".

"As the Chinese saying goes, if you do not like it, do not impose it against others", the UN envoy said.

The three members of the AUKUS security pact announced plans to develop hypersonic weapons, as well as means to defend against them on 5 April citing their commitment to "a free and open Indo-Pacific". The countries also plan to cooperate on developing new electronic warfare techniques.

The decision by the security pact comes amid continuing tensions in the South China Sea, where American ships routinely enter the disputed waters, which Beijing considers a part of its territory. China has repeatedly warned against such actions by US warships, but these warnings have so far fallen on deaf ears. In addition, the US has often alleged that Beijing might be planning a military operation to seize control over Taiwan (Beijing considers it a breakaway province), which Washington has been supplying with advanced weapons, including fighter jets.

© Sputnik

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