China today (16/9) denounced the “extremely irresponsible” sale of US nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, which it said was taking place “as part of a new partnership that includes the United Kingdom”.
“Cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia in nuclear submarines is seriously undermining regional peace and regional stability, intensifying the arms race and jeopardizing international nuclear non-proliferation efforts,” she told reporters. diplomat Zhao Lizian.
He accused the three countries of displaying a “Cold War mentality” and of using nuclear weapons for geopolitical purposes, according to the Athens News Agency, citing Chinese media.
While Beijing’s relations with Canberra have been strained for a year and a half, Zhao said the acquisition of US submarines runs counter to Australia’s non-proliferation commitments.
The United States, which seeks to strengthen its alliances with China at all levels, announced on Wednesday a broad security alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom in the Indo-Pacific area called AUKUS, which includes the nuclear submarines in Canberra.
Immediate consequence of this spectacular announcement: Australia canceled a giant contract with France for the delivery of conventional submarines, provoking the anger of Paris, which denounced “a backstabbing knife”.
China is not named in a joint statement by the leaders of Australia, the United States and Britain, which spoke of “peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”. But there is no doubt that the new alliance is primarily aimed at addressing Beijing’s regional ambitions.
Joe Biden has been repeating since he was elected that he intends to confront China, like his predecessor Donald Trump, but in a very different way, without closing in on a frontal conflict.