mandag 4. oktober 2021

China’s AUKUS Response Highlights Beijing’s Bunker Mentality

Beijing is in overdrive to respond to the news that Australia will build nuclear-powered submarines, thanks to technology being shared by the United States and the United Kingdom. No event since China’s 2016 loss to the Philippines in an international arbitration case over disputed waters in the South China Sea has evoked such a howl from Chinese officialdom.

Designated AUKUS, the security pact between Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. delivers Australia an exponentially more powerful submarine force than its originally planned purchase of conventional submarines from France. Frances’s own reaction to losing the contract with Australia, although biting, is nonetheless mild in comparison to China’s rhetoric.

Initially, China’s response was characterized by statements calling AUKUS “extremely irresponsible.” A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the pact “seriously undermines regional peace and intensifies the arms race.” The reaction was, diplomatically speaking, strong but measured.