China responds after Australia signs historic AUKUS agreement

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping made his next move with a rare appearance after Australia signed a deal for a “big step forward”.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has made his next move with a rare appearance after Australia signed a historic deal with the US and UK in what has been called a “big step” in nuclear submarine partnership.

On Monday, Defense Minister Peter Dutton signed a formal agreement in the first phase of the controversial AUKUS deal for the acquisition of nuclear submarines.

Mr Dutton attended a ceremony with US Charge d’affaires Michael Goldman and UK High Commissioner Victoria Tredell for the deal, meaning countries can now share information about the ships.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the goal was to “establish a legally binding framework for the disclosure and use of information regarding naval nuclear propulsion between the Governments of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.”

“This is the first time the US and UK will share this information with a third country,” Morrison said in a statement in Canberra.

“This was something worth securing. This is something Australia has long sought and our Government has secured. It was worth securing access to this important defense technology and information.”

Taking overnight at an online summit with ASEAN leaders, Xi said Beijing was ready to sign a Southeast Asian nuclear-free treaty, dubbed a clear response to AUKUS.

“China supports ASEAN’s efforts to build a nuclear weapons-free zone and is ready to sign the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty Protocol as soon as possible,” Xi said.

The Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone is an agreement, also known as the Bangkok Treaty, signed between 10 Southeast Asian member states in 1995. China is not one of these 10 members.

In summary, the agreement stipulates that its members “cannot develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, own or have control over nuclear weapons.”

According to the United Nations, a protocol for the agreement has been issued for five nuclear countries – China, Russia, France, the UK and the USA. Neither country has signed the treaty, making China the first of five parties if Xi continues.

Xi’s words are in stark contrast to a recent Pentagon report that claims Beijing will double its nuclear arsenal within the next decade.

“Beijing’s decision was probably made with AUKUS in mind, as the tripartite agreement allows Australia to acquire nuclear propulsion technology to power a new fleet of submarines,” he said. Nikkei AsiaShotaro Tani explained.

“Xi’s comments will increase the pressure on Australia, a country with which China has an increasingly hostile relationship.”

Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi said at a media briefing that Xi emphasized the need to “create a peaceful home by strengthening dialogue, multilateralism and rejecting power politics.” “China has declared its readiness to sign the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol.”

What is the new pact?

Mr Morrison said the agreement will “provide a mechanism for Australian personnel to access the invaluable education and training necessary to learn to build, operate and support nuclear powered submarines safely and effectively from our US and UK counterparts.

“It will enable Australian civilian and military personnel to access the critical education and training from their US and UK counterparts essential to learning how to operate a capacity safely and effectively for Australia.

“The agreement will also enable Australia to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to establish the world’s best practice regulatory and safety regime to ensure the safe operation of nuclear, marine nuclear propulsion and to ensure compliance with Australia’s international obligations, including the International Maritime Agreement. Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“This is an important, very important agreement for Australia’s future security.

“There’s a lot of it, there seems to be a lot of people who don’t want to see this continue. I think that tells you why it’s so important that we do it.”

In the signing, Mr Dutton described it as an “extraordinary achievement” as it sought to replace Australia’s aging Collins-class submarines.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished under AUKUS and today this agreement will allow for the first time to share information that will be shared with Australia, specifically regarding the submarine’s nuclear propulsion system. “So far it’s only a shared path between the United States and the United Kingdom,” Dutton said.

“This is an outstanding achievement and the next step in implementing submarines and other agreements under AUKUS, which will all be very important.”

french drama

The deal, first announced in September, caused an international headache for Scott Morrison, and the prime minister was sensationally scolded by Emmanuel Macron after the French president called him a liar.

Mr Morrison told reporters in Glasgow that he would not make “police smears” about Australia’s honesty and did not apologize for the decision to abandon the $90 billion submarine contract with France for the deal.

Macron accused Morrison of lying by not revealing that Australia was in talks with the UK and the US on the purchase of nuclear submarines before France withdrew from the deal.

Macron made an extraordinary comment to Australian journalists at the G20 summit in Rome, after weeks of escalating diplomatic tensions between France and Australia.

“I have so much respect and so much friendship with the (Australian) people,” he said.

“I say that when we show respect, you must be honest and act consistently and in line with that value.

When asked if he thought Mr. Morrison was lying to him, he said, “I don’t think so, I know.”

In response, Mr Morrison said he did not want to “personalize the spit” but would not accept “statements that question the integrity of Australia”.

“I don’t want to personalize it,” said Mr. Morrison.

“From my point of view there is no element of it. I have to say, my shoulders are wide against statements that question the integrity of Australia and defamation of Australia, not me. I can deal with it.

“But these insults, I’m not going to do police sledding in Australia. I will not undertake this on behalf of Australians.

“I can handle anything people throw at me. However, Australia has a proud track record when it comes to our defensive capability. That’s why we’re going to build them. We will build others. And Australia’s service record, I think, needs no elaboration. And that’s where we are.”

He said that conventional diesel submarines that will be built under the agreement with France will not meet Australia’s strategic needs.

“I have to put Australia’s interests ahead of those that potentially involve offending others,” he said.

“The (French) submarine contract was an important investment decision taken five years ago. At this point, the attack-class submarine was the right decision, given the strategic situation, time and technology available to Australia.

“But there have been significant game-changing changes to our strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific.”

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