China was quick to criticize the supply by the United States and Great Britain to Australia of the technology allowing Canberra to acquire nuclear submarines as part of the new Aukus alliance (Australia, United Kingdom, United States) launched by the White House, Wednesday September 15. Thursday, Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the foreign ministry, judged “totally irresponsible” this tripartite agreement which “seriously undermines peace and regional stability and intensifies the arms race”. For him, this agreement casts doubt on “Australia’s sincerity in respecting its nuclear non-proliferation commitments”.
This martial tone comes as relations between Australia and China are already severely deteriorated. But it is undoubtedly up to Beijing’s concerns. China is particularly concerned about the formalization of the Quad, this “Asian NATO”, in its words, which brings together the United States, Australia, Japan and India. For the first time, the leaders of these four countries will meet face-to-face at the White House on September 24. China has a border dispute with India and claims certain islets administered by Japan.
In addition, the South China Sea, of which China claims most of it, is the subject of frequent tensions between Beijing and its neighbors but also with the United States and to a lesser extent France and Great Britain. Finally, Taiwan is also a hotbed of major tensions. The island, which Beijing claims as one of its provinces, is also currently carrying out major military maneuvers, as is Japan. Both feeling threatened by China, Taipei and Tokyo have recently deepened their military cooperation.