AUKUS endangers regional peace

Nuclear submarine pact makes Australia a Trojan horse for US game in Asia-Pacific


On April 17, US and UK defense leaders met at the Pentagon. Among the topics of discussion were Ukraine and AUKUS. On March 14, at a naval base in San Diego, California, the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (AUKUS) announced with great fanfare their pathway to cooperation on nuclear submarines. 

With its Cold War mentality, the move will stimulate an arms race, undermine the international non-proliferation regime, and hurt peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The allies always have excuses to find fault with China, ludicrously blaming the “China threat”.

The nuclear submarine cooperation pact sets a bad precedent in which a nuclear weapon state will transfer weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to a nonnuclear weapon state. It runs counter to the goals of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and will create endless troubles.

Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating criticized the AUKUS agreement, saying it is “the worst international decision” by a Labor government in more than a century. 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, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region will be threatened. But the Western powers use the “China threat” theory as a pretext to beat the drums of war.

Why does 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 nations claim China will replace the current world order with a China-centered one. That is a fallacy. It is being used only to smear China. 

While touting 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. China does not export war.

In 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.

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, Beijing 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”, referring to the Saudi-Iran deal. 

Australia has an inherent sense of insecurity. In fact, what frightens Australia is the “US threat” rather than the “China threat”, for it fears both losing protection and receiving endless bludgeons if it does not 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 a long time, 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 China’s consul-general in Brisbane, Australia. 

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.