Australia: No response after offering China briefing on AUKUS pact
The plan entails the US' provision of three American Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia in the 2030s, as Biden clarified after the announcement that he is not concerned about China's opinion.
The AUKUS pact between Australia, the UK and the US has been repeatedly criticized by China for amplifying the regional arms race and risking the security, peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, but Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles stated on Tuesday that his country has not received any response or feedback after offering China a briefing of the pact.
Marles disclosed that over 60 calls to leaders in Southeast Asia and the Pacific were made by Australia to inform them last week of the pact.
This comes after US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Australian PM Anthony Albanese revealed, at an AUKUS summit in San Diego, the map-out of their plan to establish a new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines within the AUKUS framework.
The plan entails the US' provision of three American Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia in the 2030s. Biden clarified after the announcement that he is not concerned about China's opinion.
Read more: US to increase military presence in Australia, invites Japan
Australia will buy as many as five US nuclear-powered submarines and later build a new model with US and British technology under a plan to strengthen the AUKUS Western alliance across the Asia-Pacific against rising China, a US official said on Monday.
The Australian Department of Defense explained that “Australians have already commenced training and working on UK and US nuclear-powered submarines and in UK and US facilities,” adding that it would lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs over the coming 30 years.
Cold War thinking
Australia, the US and the UK announced the AUKUS defense partnership in September 2021. The first initiative announced under the AUKUS pact was the development of nuclear-powered submarine technology for the Royal Australian Navy, which prompted the Australian government to abandon a $66 billion agreement with France's Naval Group company on the construction of diesel-electric submarines.
China labeled the pact as a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, after which Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, “Despite being called a 'trilateral security partnership,' AUKUS is essentially about fueling military confrontation through military collaboration.”
“It is apparently driven by Cold War thinking. It creates additional nuclear proliferation risks, exacerbates the arms race in the Asia-Pacific and hurts regional peace and stability. China is deeply concerned and firmly opposed to it," Mao stressed.
China warned that AUKUS risked setting off an arms race and accused the three countries of setting back nuclear nonproliferation efforts. "We urge the US, the UK and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum games, honor international obligations in good faith and do more things that are conducive to regional peace and stability," Mao told reporters.