EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

A dangerous gamble

Writer: Wu Guangqiang  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: Shenzhen   |  Updated: 2021-10-11

The announcement on Sept. 15 of the AUKUS military alliance between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia came as a bombshell to many, and entails ominous consequences for the world, the Asian-Pacific region in particular.

France was angry that its US$6.6-billion-worth submarine orders with Australia was sundered by Australia without any notice. A furious French President Emmanuel Macron immediately recalled French ambassadors to the United States and Australia to show his indignation of being "stabbed in the back."

However, France's anger seemed to have gone as swiftly as it came. Just three days after the recalling of his ambassador to Washington, following a "friendly" telephone talk with U.S. President Joe Biden on Sept. 22, Macron agreed to let the ambassador return to Washington, and both leaders agreed to meet in Europe in October.

It's not known yet as how Biden managed to pacify Macron and what deal was done to make up for France's heavy loss as a result of Australia's pulling out of a conventional submarine deal with France and switching to U.S. nuclear power technology.

The European Union also aired its discontent that its American and British allies had not informed or consulted them before taking such a major action. Some top EU officials vowed to strengthen its independence of the U.S.; it has said so many times, though.

To me, such an "unpleasant episode" is nothing but a conflict of business interests among a bunch of treacherous and snobbish merchants, who bicker with each other once in a while. No fundamental interests such as national security or sovereignty are involved.

But such a move does pose a grave threat to the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and with its explicit purpose to aim at China, has sown the seeds of confrontation, and even possible wars.

To maintain its global hegemony, a declining America is getting increasingly insane and desperate, having resorted to all filthy means. On the one hand Biden pledged at the U.N. annual session not to get engaged in a new cold war, but on the other hand the United States is forming anti-China cliques around the world, virtually dragging the world into a new cold war.

The nature of AUKUS speaks for itself. Under the agreement, Britain and America are going to help Australia get nuclear-powered attack submarines and Australia is permitted to make the submarines locally. This is a flagrant violation of the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian pointed out, as a party of non-nuclear-weapon states to the treaties of the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, Australia's intention to introduce nuclear technology of strategic military value makes the international community, including China, question its international commitment to preventing nuclear nonproliferation.

Once the Pandora's box is opened, the Asian-Pacific region and even the whole world may see a new wave of nuclear arms race. Indonesian and Malaysian leaders have expressed serious concerns over the situation. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's scheduled visit to Indonesia was canceled by Jakarta after the announcement of AUKUS. The Malaysian defense minister plans to visit China to seek China's views on the matter.

Meanwhile, some Japanese politicians have discussed the "necessity" and "possibility" of making nuclear submarines. Given Japan's status as America's most loyal ally in Asia, it is little wonder that Japan is one of the few countries in the region to gloat over the risky development, as the AUKUS military alliance will tip the existing military balance in the region in favor of the U.S. and Japan.

Australia must be aware that it is a curse rather than a blessing for its security by tying itself in the chariot of the U.S. Some Australian trade unions slammed the nuclear submarine deal with the U.S. and U.K., saying "Workers have no interest in war with China," and "The reckless deal will place Australia in peril."

Washington must realize that ganging up and acting in collusion with bellicose followers leads nowhere. China adheres to the path of peaceful development and promotes the building of a community with a shared future for humankind, but is militarily capable of defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Any attempts to jeopardize China's core interests will fail!

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)