China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom are on the “wrong and dangerous path of pursuing their own geopolitical interests”, in response to an agreement under which Australia would buy nuclear-powered attack submarines from the United States. The United States to modernize its fleet.
Spokesman Wang Wenbin said the arrangement, given the acronym AUKUS — for Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States — stems from “a typical Cold War mentality that will only stimulate the arms race, harm the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, and harm regional stability and peace.”
“The recent joint statement issued by the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia shows that the three countries have further taken the wrong and dangerous path for their own geopolitical self-interest, completely ignoring the concerns of the international community,” Wang told reporters. Daily briefing.
US President Joe Biden traveled to San Diego to appear with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as they hailed the 18-month nuclear partnership that gives Australia access to nuclear-powered submarines, which are more stealthy and capable than ships. Powered by conventional energy, as a counterweight to China’s military buildup.
Biden assured that the ships will not carry nuclear weapons of any kind. Albanese said he does not believe the deal will spoil its relationship with China, which he noted has improved in recent months.
Wang reiterated China’s allegations that the American University in Kosovo poses “a grave risk of nuclear proliferation and violates the object and purpose of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”
“The three countries claim that they will adhere to the highest standards of nuclear non-proliferation, and this is pure deception,” Wang said, accusing the three countries of “coercing” the IAEA to agree to it.
Also on Tuesday, Australia’s defense minister said the AUKUS was needed to counter the largest conventional military build-up in the region since World War II. Australian officials said the deal would cost up to $245 billion over the next three decades and create 20,000 jobs.
Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marless said it had undertaken a massive diplomatic effort for months before announcing the deal on Monday, including making more than 60 calls to regional and world leaders. He said Australia had even offered to keep China in the loop.
We have given a briefing. “I did not participate in a briefing with China,” Marlies said.
Speaking on a video call with reporters late Monday, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kreitenbrink said the degree of transparency involved in the agreement was a key feature of the arrangement.
“AUK partners have made our intentions clear, including our commitment to regional peace and stability. We have committed ourselves to the highest standards of safety and nonproliferation, and we look forward to continuing to engage with our friends, partners, and allies in the region,” Krittenbrink said.
AUKUS is one of several US-led security arrangements that have drawn fire from Beijing, which routinely criticizes regional blocs left out of the Cold War’s relics.
Along with Russia, China has denounced the Quartet — a grouping that includes Australia, India, Japan and the United States — whose foreign ministers made clear earlier this month that they aim to be an alternative to China. The ministers said they view with concern the “challenges to the maritime base-based order, including in the South and East China Seas,” referring to China’s aggressive moves to assert its territorial claims as it seeks to replace the United States as preeminent in the region. military force.
China was also unstable due to an agreement between Washington and the Philippines, which gave US forces greater access to Philippine bases along the so-called “First Island Chain” that are key to Chinese control of the region.
US military and political support for Taiwan has also led to more threatening responses from Beijing in recent years.
A visit by then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the island in 2022 prompted Beijing to launch missiles over the island, send warships and planes to the area, and conduct military exercises in a simulated blockade of the island. Amid tensions over the US shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon in February, China refused to accept a phone call from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to discuss the matter.
In recent days, officials from President Xi Jinping have made sharp statements about US-China relations and China’s security in general.
Foreign Minister Chen Gang warned Washington last week of the possibility of “conflict and confrontation” if the United States does not change course to mend strained relations over Taiwan, human rights, Hong Kong, security, technology and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The day before, Xi had told delegates of the Chinese legislature that “Western countries led by the United States have carried out comprehensive containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented serious challenges to our nation’s development.”
On the closing day of the parliament on Monday, Xi said it was necessary to modernize the armed forces and “build the people’s army into a great wall of steel” that safeguards China’s interests and national security. Xi also stressed China’s determination to bring Taiwan under its control by peaceful or military means, amid growing concerns abroad about a possible attack on the island, which Beijing claims as its territory.
Xi said China should “resolutely oppose the interference of outside forces and separatist activities for Taiwan independence, and unswervingly promote the process of reunification of the motherland.”
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