China Denounces Australia-UK-US Security Pact as ‘Extremely Irresponsible’

China on Sept. 16 denounced the new security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States as “extremely irresponsible” and urged them to abandon a “Cold War” mentality.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian criticized the pact called AUKUS at a press conference, saying that it “has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race, and undermined international non-proliferation efforts.”

Under the pact, the three nations will collaborate and deploy nuclear-powered submarines for Australia, which Zhao said “proves once again that they are using nuclear exports as a tool for geopolitical game and adopting double standards.”

Zhao called for the three nations to abandon “the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception… Otherwise, they will only end up shooting themselves in the foot.”

The pact is widely seen as an effort to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region, which the UK said was “on the frontline of new security challenges” as it faces unresolved territorial disputes, nuclear proliferation, climate change, and terrorism,” but did not name China.

Zhao said that China will “pay close attention” to the development of the pact.

Zhao also blamed Australia for the tensions in their bilateral relationship and said it was “imperative” for Australia to “think seriously about whether it sees China as a partner or a threat.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and U.S. President Joe Biden announced AUKUS at a joint virtual press conference on Sept. 15.

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