Beijing has criticised Australia’s new defence deal
By Charbel Kadib – News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Beijing has criticised Australia’s new defence deal with the US and UK, claiming it has “undermined regional peace and stability”.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Ministry of Foreign Affairs has voiced criticism over the new trilateral agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS), which will see nuclear submarines built in Adelaide via a knowledge sharing arrangement.
Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has accused the nations of further inciting tensions in the region.
“The nuclear submarine co-operation between the US, the UK and Australia has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international non-proliferation efforts,” he said.
Zhao went on to claim that AUKUS allies are “adopting double standards” by using nuclear exports as a geopolitical tool, accusing Australia of breaching its non-proliferation commitment under the Treaty of Rarotonga.
“The international community, including Australia’s neighbouring countries, has full reason to question whether Australia is serious about fulfilling its nuclear non-proliferation commitments,” he said.
“China will pay close attention to the development of the relevant situation.”
The spokesperson suggested the agreement was targeting a third-party, adding that a “closed and exclusive clique” undermines regional co-operation.
“Relevant countries should abandon the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception, respect the will of the people of regional countries and do more to contribute to regional peace, stability and development,” Zhao said.
“Otherwise, they will only end up shooting themselves in the foot.”
The AUKUS alliance is widely understood to be a response to CCP aggression in the region.
Over the past two years, Beijing has leveraged its economic power to coerce regional neighbours into complying with its geostrategic agenda.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has also expanded its military presence in the region, and repeatedly undermined Taiwan’s sovereignty by breaching its air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
It is hoped the AUKUS agreement will serve as a deterrent, while also enhancing the ADF’s capacity to defend Australia’s interests.