China says AUKUS plan is dangerous and will harm regional peace

Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, talks about tensions with the United States.

Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, talks about tensions with the United States.

Photo: AFP Agency

China said today that the AUKUS security pact’s nuclear-powered submarine acquisition and development plan “will only fuel an arms race” and “harm regional peace and stability.”

“The AUKUS nuclear submarine program exudes a Cold War mentality and will only serve to fuel an arms race, undermine the international nuclear non-proliferation system and damage regional peace and stability,” said Wang Wenbin, Chinese foreign spokesman at the conference. press.

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Likewise, the Chinese Mission to the UN criticized that “the irony of the AUKUS is that two nuclear countries that claim to maintain the highest nuclear standards are transferring tons of weapons-grade enriched uranium to a country without nuclear weapons, clearly violating the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons).

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The leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia on Monday unveiled their plan to acquire and develop nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS security pact, seen as a counterweight to China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.

Under the agreement, Australia will purchase up to three Virginia-class single-jet submarines from the United States during the 2030s, with the option to purchase two more if necessary, bringing the total to five.

Although the signatory countries have not expressly mentioned China, the pact is considered an alliance to counteract Beijing’s influence in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, the scene of tensions in the South China Sea and in Taiwan, which the Chinese government considers a rebel territory.

The new submarines will allow Australia to enter, from the next decade, the club of nations with nuclear-powered submersibles, which includes the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and India.

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Last year, the then Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, criticized the creation of the AUKUS alliance, saying that it goes “against the spirit of peace for the countries of that region.”

“The real goal of the US strategy in the Pacific is to establish a version of NATO. This is a region that wants development and cooperation, it is not the board of a game of chess. China rejects any attempt to create circles of influence,” he said.

“No nuclear weapons”

None of the three rulers explicitly mentioned China, but Biden stated that AUKUS would ensure that the Asia-Pacific area “remains free and open”, a formula that points to the desire to counteract Chinese influence in the region.

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Anthony Albanese, Australia’s Prime Minister, called it “the largest single investment in Australia’s defense capacity in our entire history,” noting that the three countries are “united, above all else, by one world… .) where peace and stability and security guarantee greater prosperity”.

The Australian government estimates the multi-decade project will cost about $40 billion in the first 10 years, and create around 20,000 jobs.

Australia is the second country after the UK to have access to secret US nuclear technology, Albanese insisted.

Sunak also insisted on efforts to increase the UK’s defense budget, which is committing itself to “the most important multilateral defense deal for generations.”

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