AUKUS security cooperation a trigger for confrontation, China tells EU

Beijing holds strategic dialogue with EU to discuss Afghanistan, Myanmar, Indo-pacific, regional issues.

AUKUS security cooperation a trigger for confrontation, China tells EU

China has urged the US, the UK, and Australia to “play a constructive role in regional peace and stability” after the trio launched trilateral security cooperation called AUKUS.

“As the US, the UK and Australia strengthened military ties and strengthened bloc confrontation, China put forward a global development initiative and formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP),” China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told China-EU high-level strategic dialogue.

Beijing held the video dialogue with the EU on Tuesday evening where Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, represented the multi-national bloc.

“Who is inciting conflict and confrontation, endangering peace and stability, who is promoting regional integration and promoting peaceful development, is clear at a glance, and the contrast is sharp,” Wang told Borrel, referring to AUKUS and China applying for the CPTPP.

In mid-September, the US, the UK, and Australia made an abrupt announcement of the AUKUS launch under which Australia will get technology from Washington and London to build nuclear-powered submarines.

It also stripped France of a $90 billion defense deal with Australia, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Paris, Canberra, and Washington.

The Chinese foreign minister said the AUKUS has triggered “high concerns” among the Asia-Pacific countries and many have “expressed concerns and doubts.”

“China believes that this move will bring three hidden dangers to regional peace and stability and international order: the resurgence of the Cold War; hidden dangers of the arms race and nuclear proliferation,” Wang said.

The new defense pact is seen as another grouping, after the launch of Quad among the US, Japan, Australia, and India, to counter China's expanding economic and military influence in the wider Asia-Pacific region, with the South China Sea in focus.

EU-China engagement

In a separate statement, the EU said it needs to continue engaging with China on various important areas despite disagreements.

The statement said the two sides discussed bilateral relations, international and regional issues including Afghanistan, Myanmar, and the Indo-pacific via video conference.

Borrell and Wang touched upon global issues such as climate change and the fight against the pandemic.

Stressing the need for resuming the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue for a mature relationship between the EU and China, Borrell hoped that the next meeting could take place before the end of the year, according to the statement.

The situation in Xinjiang province and Hong Kong were also discussed, while Borrell emphasized the EU will continue to apply its "One China" policy regarding Taiwan.

Borrell also stressed the need for strong coordination over Afghanistan, according to the statement.

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Hüseyin Demir

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