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Chinese FM Spokesperson: US, UK and Australia Couldn't Just Deny the Threat Posed by AUKUS to Regional Peace and Security and Explain It Away

2021-10-23 12:20

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on 22 October, spokesperson Wang Wenbin answered a question about the AUKUS trilateral security partnership.

Journalist: It is reported that US, British and Australian officials made remarks on the AUKUS trilateral security partnership on October 21. They said that Australia joined AUKUS only to develop its own nuclear submarine capability and it does not, and will not use nuclear weapons. They said that AUKUS did not undermine the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and it was not a threat to regional peace. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted that the US, the UK and Australia had to justify themselves in the face of the suspicion and opposition of regional countries and the international community over their trilateral security partnership. However, their feeble argument cannot address the concerns of regional countries and the wider international community.

This Anglo-Saxon "clique" created by the three countries is a typical military bloc that smacks of obsolete Cold War zero-sum mentality. It is a reflection of the three countries' obsession with force, an extension of the US and the UK's nuclear deterrence policy, and a product of the US philosophy of "position of strength". The trilateral security partnership between the US, the UK and Australia is a stark reminder that the rules the three countries believe in are still the rules of the jungle where might is right.

The US and the UK export nuclear submarines to Australia out of geopolitical and economic considerations. They did so in violation of the object and purpose of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), creating risks of the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology. Their moves have a huge impact on the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. This fully shows that the three countries are typical rules-breakers.

The nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia involves transferring weapons-grade uranium of over 90 percent fissile purity to Australia, which constitutes a grave nuclear proliferation risk and violates the object and purpose of the NPT. Besides, the US will also export Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Australia. The threat posed by such moves to regional peace and security is self-evident. The three countries couldn't just deny this and explain the threat away. The trilateral cooperation is also bound to undermine efforts to build a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Southeast Asia. Where is their respect for ASEAN centrality?

We once again urge the three countries to redress the mistake, abandon Cold War zero-sum mentality and stop putting together small cliques. They should uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation system and safeguard regional and world peace, stability and development, rather than the opposite.

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