Beijing has denounced the United States government’s new “AUKUS” alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia as a threat to peace in the Indo-Pacific region.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian slammed the grouping as a reflection of “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception” that "intensified" a regional arms race and harmed international non-proliferation efforts.
He said the move was a "geopolitical gaming tool" and called it "extremely irresponsible".
The trilateral alliance was also denounced by the Chinese media, with the Global Times newspaper saying Australia had now "turned itself into an adversary of China".
In its editorial, the Global Times wrote, “The US is hysterically polarising its alliance system. Using an external force to push "middle powers" like Australia to the defense level of owning nuclear-powered submarines is a strong showcase to middle powers around the world.”
The editorial was scathing in its remarks, further stating, “Washington is losing its mind by trying to rally its allies against China, creating antagonism and destruction beyond its control. It has been immersed in attacking China without seriously assessing the possibility of backfiring. The war in Afghanistan, which traverses one of the most stable periods in the world as a whole, has embarrassed the US. If the world really becomes chaotic, there will be many more setbacks ahead for the US to fall down further.”
The newspaper also warned Australia of the repercussions of its ‘one-sided policy tilting toward the US’ and said that it would be “punished with no mercy” if Australia tried to provoke Beijing.
“We advise Canberra not to think that it has the capability to intimidate China if it acquires nuclear-powered submarines and offensive missiles. If Australia dares to provoke China more blatantly because of that, or even find fault militarily, China will certainly punish it with no mercy.”
"If Australia dares to provoke China more blatantly because of that, or even find fault militarily, China will certainly punish it with no mercy."
The China Daily was no different in its reactions to the three-member pact. In its editorial titled, ‘Washington forms another gang to impose mob rule in unruly game’, it wrote, "US president Joe Biden has displayed a stronger willingness than Trump to push an anti-China policy and form a united front against China with the United States' buddies. Wednesday's announcement that the US is forming an Indo-Pacific alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia is the latest example of this ill trend."
It noted that Australia's decision to be a part of this alliance will have an adverse impact on its already frosty relations with China.
"But this olive branch, extended right after the forming of AUKUS and Morrison's announcement of the acquisition of US nuclear-powered submarines and cruise missiles, cannot hide Canberra's enthusiasm in jumping on the US bandwagon to contain China's rise and development, which will only push its bilateral ties with China from bad to worse," it said.
The newspaper lashed out at President Joe Biden, calling him a 'gang boss', who amplifies differences and stokes confrontation in a bid to start turf wars.
As the Global Times, the China Daily too took the opportunity to highlight the United States' failure when it came to Afghanistan, saying: "To see the consequences of its unruly games, one does not need to look beyond the plight of Afghanistan, a country that was first invaded and then abandoned by the US and its Western allies, including the UK and Australia."
The CGTN, an international English-language cable TV news service based in Beijing, also carried a report on the AUKUS alliance, stating that this new pact showed that Europe can't trust the US.
The channel focused on the fact that America's decision to share its nuclear submarine technology with Australia, had led to Canberra jettisoning a $90 billion order with France.
"As the submarine fiasco shows, the US time and time again bullies, manipulates and traps Europe into submitting to its foreign policy preferences."
The channel in its report said, "Despite Biden having frequently marketed "America is Back!" and pushed a charm offensive against Europe, the US hastily threw France under the bus as soon as it saw the opportunity to deepen profits for its own military-industrial complex."
It added, "... as the submarine fiasco shows, the US time and time again bullies, manipulates and traps Europe into submitting to its foreign policy preferences."
It also noted that Europe "is better off not being involved with this fiasco" and that it should "forge its own independent view and relationship with China and shake off the vice that the United States holds over it".
With inputs from agencies