Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, attends a Beijing news conference on April 8, 2020. On Thursday, he made harsh remarks about the US, UK and Australia. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
China criticized the US, UK and Australia over a nuclear submarine agreement announced Wednesday.
Although leaders have never explicitly stated that, the deal is seen as a response to China's growing military.
Chinese spokesperson claimed that the three countries had an "outdated Cold War Zero-sum mentality."
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China swung into the USA, UK and Australia to sign a defense technology agreement that would allow Australia to form a nuclear-powered sub-marine fleet. Experts believe this partnership is also a response to Beijing’s growing military might.
Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, called the deal "extremely irresponsible" adding that the three nations involved "should abandon the Cold War zero-sum mentality of narrow-minded geopolitical stability and the obsolete Cold War zero-sum mentality."
He said during a Thursday press conference, "Otherwise they will only end-up shooting themselves in the foot,"
Zhao highlighted Australia's use nuclear power to support its submarine fleet. This raises questions about whether it intends to maintain its status of a nuclear nonproliferation state.
Zhao stated that the nuclear submarine cooperation between the US and the UK has "seriously undermined regional peace, stability, intensified arm race, and undermined international efforts to non-proliferate." Zhao also accused the UK and US of having double standards in their positions on nuclear weapons.
Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has stated that the deal does not have anything to do with nuclear weapons acquisition and that Australia does not intend to do so.
Morrison, Joe Biden, the US president, and Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, didn't mention China during Wednesday's announcement of their agreement.
Analysts see the security partnership, "AUKUS", as an effort to limit Beijing's growing military might. Politico was informed by two US officials that the deal includes a key subtext about China countering.
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China's aggression at the South China Sea has made the West more concerned. Beijing continues to increase its military presence and escalate tensions between its neighbors.
Ben Wallace, UK defense secretary, stated to the BBC that China has "embarked on one of the largest military expenditures in history."
It is increasing its navy [and] its air force at an incredible rate. It is clearly involved in some disputed territories. Wallace stated that our partners in these regions want to be able stand on their own."
Since last year, Australia and China have been embroiled in a trade dispute. China raised tariffs and accused Australia of manipulating the markets.
China is not the only one who was offended by the security agreement. France also felt it had been ignored when it ended a $35.5 million contract to build submarines in Australia.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French foreign minister, said that "this brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds us a lot what Mr. Trump used do."
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