China says the recent announcement by Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to co-operate in the development of hypersonic weapons “intensifies the arms race,” which is why “the nations of Asia must be extremely vigilant”.
“Under the guise of the crisis in Ukraine or maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific region, these countries have now come together to cooperate in the development of hypersonic weapons,” Chinese foreign spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.
“Well, this will only increase the risk of nuclear proliferation and intensify the arms race,”
“Asian nations must be extremely vigilant” following the latest announcement by these three countries, which make up the AUKUS security alliance, which Beijing has previously referred to as “the NATO of the Pacific,” he said.
In one of his last speeches, Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticised the creation of the pact and said it goes “against the spirit of peace for the countries of that region.”
“The real goal of the US strategy in the Pacific is to establish a version of NATO. This is a region that wants development and cooperation, it is not a chess game board. China rejects any attempt to create circles of influence,” the Chinese diplomat said in March.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement on Wednesday that they are “satisfied” with the progress made since the September creation of the defence pact.
According to its creators, AUKUS aims to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free and open,” and its implementation meant Australia gained access to develop nuclear submarines.
It also led to a diplomatic crisis with France by cancelling an earlier contract to build diesel-powered submarines.