Beijing is extremely unhappy about the AUKUS, a new enhanced trilateral security partnership between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia that was announced on Wednesday. Delivery of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia will be its first major initiative, which is seen as an apparent attempt to counter China.
"The U.S., the U.K., and Australia's cooperation in nuclear submarines severely damages regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and jeopardizes the international efforts in promoting the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian, in a daily briefing. "The US and UK's action of exporting highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology once again proves that they are using nuclear exports as a tool for geopolitical games and adapts double standards."
"This is an extremely irresponsible act," he added.
However, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, while taking part in the announcement on Wednesday, said, "Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability."
"And we will continue to meet all our nuclear non-proliferation obligations," he added.
U.S. President Biden also echoed Morrison's view.
"I want to be exceedingly clear about this: We’re not talking about nuclear-armed submarines. These are conventionally armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors. This technology is proven. It’s safe," Biden said. "And the United States and the U.K. have been operating nuclear-powered submarines for decades."