China’s foreign minister has urged Britain to “think twice” about its trilateral military pact with the United States and Australia, which will allow Canberra to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
In a phone conversation on Friday with his British counterpart, Liz Truss, Minister Wang Yi said Beijing “opposes this agreement,” which will provide a non-nuclear-armed state with a highly enriched uranium.
In September, Washington announced the formation of a new alliance with Australia and Britain. The trilateral partnership, dubbed ‘AUKUS,’ instantly drew condemnation from China, Russia, and France.
Australia will become only the second country after the United Kingdom to be given access to the US nuclear technology to build nuclear-powered submarines.
“The creation of a new military bloc in the region will trigger an arms race, provoke confrontation between major powers and undermine regional peace and stability,” Wang said. He also told Truss that China urges “the British side to proceed from [the principle of] safeguarding the nuclear non-proliferation system, handle it cautiously, and think twice.”
Under the new partnership, the three countries have agreed to enhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing and foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains. The tripartite security pact is widely regarded as a hostile military move by the West aimed at China.
Observers say Washington and its allies are looking for ways to push back against China’s growing power and influence in the region. China previously called on the trio to shake off their “Cold War” mentality.
The US-China relations have grown increasingly tense in recent years, with the two largest economies of the world clashing over a range of issues, including trade, the Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, military activities in the South China Sea.
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