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AUKUS has opened a Pandora's box

By Ruan Zongze | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-22 09:44

The US, UK defense leaders discussed Ukraine, AUKUS in a Pentagon meeting early this week. On March 14, leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced the pathway to cooperation on nuclear submarine at the naval base in San Diego, California, with great fanfare. With Cold War mentality behind it, this move will stimulate an arms race, undermine the international non-proliferation regime, and hurt the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. They always have excuses to find fault with China, ludicrously blaming it to "China threat".

Under the painted veil of AUKUS lies the bad precedent set by the nuclear submarine cooperation among the US, the UK and Australia, in which a nuclear weapon state will transfer weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to a nonnuclear weapon state. This constitutes severe nuclear proliferation risks, runs counter to the purposes and goals of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and will create endless troubles.

Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating has criticized the AUKUS agreement, saying it is the "the worst international decision" by a Labor government in more than a century. The AUKUS colludes with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad), aiming to form a NATO-like organization in the Asia-Pacific. NATO has already brought chaos to Europe. If it keeps going like this, the security and stability in the region will be threatened. But the Western powers use the "China threat" theory as a pretext to beat the drums of warfare.

Why does the AUKUS exploit the "China threat" issue? From their point of view, becoming stronger is China's original sin. China should be poor and weak as it was more than a century ago, so they could do whatever they wanted to with the country.

Politicians in the US and other Western countries claim that China will replace the current world order with a China-centered one. That's a fallacy. It is being used only to smear China.

Although it calls it a "rules-based international order", the US pursues a policy of "whoever follows will survive and whoever defies will perish", and plays might-is-right power politics, deviating far from the UN-centered world order.

Moreover, the US propagates the "democracy versus authoritarianism" narrative and plays the ideology card through events such as the "Summit for Democracy", so as to form so-called values-based alliances against China to check China's development.

The US, a self-proclaimed "beacon of democracy", is resorting to an authoritarian diplomatic policy and has been exporting its own democratic model by force for years. This has resulted in countless disasters and unrest across the world.

What China has been doing, in contrast, is trying to safeguard the UN-centered world order, which is being trampled on by the US and some other Western countries. China doesn't export wars. For the 70-plus years since its founding, the People's Republic of China has never started a conflict, occupied one inch of foreign land or triggered a proxy war, and has one of the best peace records among major powers. China has put forward the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and is helping build a community with a shared future for mankind as well as offering global public goods, which have been widely welcomed by the international community.


Recently, China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. During his recent visit to Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement, stressing that the Ukraine crisis be settled through dialogue. These are part of China's Global Security Initiative.

By realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through Chinese modernization, China will become more capable of promoting world peace.

Surprisingly, this has been misread by the Australian media as a "diplomatic threat", with some even saying the "Middle East pact is bad for the US and Israel". This once again proves that, in the US-led West's eyes, the interest of the US comes before the international community's.

Australia has an inherent sense of insecurity. The Australian media hype up "China threat" theory out of different needs. In fact, what frightens Australia is "US threat" rather than the "China threat", for it fears both losing protection and receiving endless bludgeons if it doesn't follow the US.

Australia is part of the Asia-Pacific and should cherish peace and stability in the region. But ideologically and culturally, Australia identifies more with the Anglo-Saxon circle, closer to the US and the UK. For long, Australia has been trapped in an identity crisis and it has become a Trojan horse for the region. Regrettably, the AUKUS has made Australia a thorn in the flesh of Asia-Pacific nations, as it represents the US-led West.

The author is consul-general of the People's Republic of China in Brisbane, Australia.


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