China, UK clash over ‘Cold War’ submarine pact with Australia to counter Beijing
China and the UK clashed over a new security pact to counter Beijing with nuclear-powered submarines, after the West was accused of a “cold war mentality.”
The Chinese government has reacted angrily to the announcement of the AUKUS alliance between Australia, the United States and Britain, also involving cyberwar and artificial intelligence projects.
“They should get rid of their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices,” said Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Ben Wallace, Secretary of Defense, insisted Australia’s decision to obtain nuclear-powered submarines, backed by London and Washington, was not intended to “upset anyone”.
But he directly underlined Beijing’s provocation, telling the BBC: “China is embarking on one of the biggest military spending and military investments in history, it is developing its navy and air force to a minimum. huge, extremely fast pace. Obviously, he is engaged in controversial areas and in contested areas. ”
“So we have seen this, this is China, this is what they are doing at the moment and it is right that the UK, alongside other allies such as Australia, is standing up for the founded system. on rules and international law. “
On the allegation of a Cold War mentality, Mr Wallace added: “I think they are wrong. I mean, China has invested in our civilian nuclear system here and no one has called it an act of the Cold War.
“During the Cold War, everyone was stuck behind fences and didn’t really communicate with each other and certainly didn’t engage in global trade, and I think it’s probably a Cold War vision to describe it. like a cold war. “
Mr Wallace also acknowledged French frustration with Australia, which broke a $ 90 billion deal with Paris to buy new diesel-electric submarines, in favor of nuclear-powered ones.
“I understand the disappointment of France. They had a contract with the Australians for diesel-electric from 2016 and the Australians have made this decision that they want to make a change.
“We didn’t go fishing for that, but as a close ally, when the Australians approached us, of course we considered it. I understand France’s frustration on this subject.