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AUKUS poses threat to regional peace, stability

By Khalid Taimur Akram | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-10-28 09:26
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US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on a National Security Initiative virtually with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, inside the East Room at the White House in Washington, US, Sept 15, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The AUKUS military pact is another clear manifestation of the United States-led allies' continuous hypocrisy and rivalry against a rising China.

Since the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia signed the pact in September, the hands in glove of Anglo-Saxon hegemonic heritage have kept rattling world stability and order. The group is facilitating Australia's development of nuclear-powered submarines, and the US and the UK will exclusively provide the technical assistance and expertise to Australia for enhancing nuclear submarine capacity. The US is sharing its submarine technology for the first time in 50 years with a nation other than the UK.

Since Australia faces no major defense perils from the surrounding Pacific nations, the new grouping's move apparently aims at China's presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The AUKUS boldness not only exposes the continued ultranationalist efforts by some Western countries, especially the US in the tough time of the pandemic, but also makes it apparent that the US has not shed the notion of traditional warfare or Cold War mentality.

The AUKUS controversy illustrates that even the closest partners of this tight clique can become enemies when the time comes and commercial concerns are present. After all, the French defense industry would have gained a profitable deal if the Australians had gone ahead with the deal with France.

Obviously, the UK and US have had other vicious motives, as their own military-industrial complex will surely benefit from manufacturing submarines for Australia.

However, the more troubling reality emerging from this conspiracy is the deployment of nuclear vessels in the Eastern Pacific. It appears that in their desire to hem in China, the US and this bloc are prepared to open up a new front in the oceans. Though Australia has affirmed that it has no intention to acquire nuclear weapons, the potential for nuclear technology transfer looms, especially when politicians of these three countries have turned against previous pledges.

Worse, through the trilateral defense pact, AUKUS may become a catalyst for a nuclear arms race and have huge repercussions on regional peace and stability. In this regard, the international community, including neighboring countries, has risen to question Australia's commitment to nuclear nonproliferation.

For years, the US and some of its close allies such as Australia have exploited disinformation campaigns against China, ranging from a ban on Huawei's 5G telecom facilities to COVID-19 and vaccine conspiracies and the boycott of cotton from China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, as well as G7 belligerence toward the Belt and Road Initiative.

The West, especially the US, must shed the obsolete Cold War mentality that threatens regional peace and stability. It has been shown to the world that the US is trying to pursue its vicious agendas via coercive actions and negative rhetoric. However, this would be lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own feet, because such political maneuvers cannot affect China's irresistible and irreversible global outreach.

China has become a major power through its policies of peace, stability and integration of nations. From inclusive economic development projects such as the BRI and vaccine assistance to the developing world, China has outmaneuvered its rivals on every front. The greater connectivity of countries for socioeconomic development under the BRI clearly shows trust and confidence in the Chinese government.

With China's example of a peaceful rise, more countries have adopted prudent and effective strategies to modernize and diversify their economies under China's grand vision of shared prosperity. The results-oriented strategies of the visionary Chinese leadership have ultimately proved to be a milestone development for amicably resolving common challenges.

China has the narrative that development is the right of all countries, rather than the exclusive privilege of the few. Thereby, it is committed to pursuing development for both China and the world and bringing benefits to all.

As the world's largest developing country, China contributes to humanity by maintaining long-term stable development. China's innovative achievements in science and technology have brought greater convenience to work and daily life worldwide, and injected new impetus into international technological innovation and global economic growth.

Undoubtedly, China's voice for the developing world and projects or alternatives for shared prosperity have won less favor from old and current hegemonic powers. There instead emerge from the US and close allies the belligerent narratives like rivalry or strategic competition.

Instead of flexing its military muscle, the Western bloc needs to engage China at the negotiating table, because once sparked, an arms race will be difficult to contain.

There are many prolonged challenges in the world. In this regard, there is a stark need for wider integration, not rivalries or fierce competition. Therefore, the AUKUS group and other Western powers need to stop projecting hostile projects, rhetoric and propaganda against China and revisit their ideas in order to integrate nations for regional stability worldwide.

The author is executive director of the Center for Global & Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan.

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