Australia has publicly derided China’s protests over Canberra’s plans to build the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine, calling it “absolutely absurd and outrageous”.
Australia’s Defense Minister, Peter Dutton, said the protests in China were likely to be inflammatory and highly entertaining.
Dutton in a TV interview on Friday (19/11), said China’s statement was provocative, ridiculous and completely outrageous. The nuclear submarine project is part of a new partnership between the US, UK and Australia called AUKUS. China has repeatedly protested its cooperation with AUKUS, which many see as an attempt by the United States and other countries to reduce China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.
Dutton’s statement was also supported by Wang Xining, a lawyer at the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, in response to the recent protests in Beijing. “Then who are you attacking? You are no longer a peace lover, a peacekeeper, but a prosecutor under certain circumstances,” Wang said.
Wang said Australia “does not have the nuclear capability” to deal with issues that could affect future submarine operations. He asked whether the Australian government was prepared to apologize for future incidents and accidents involving nuclear submarines.
King thought that Australia would be a “bad boy” if it had these submarines. According to him, the submarine is designed for long-range attacks. King also warned Australia not to do anything that could seriously damage the fragile relationship between China and Australia.
Responding to the king’s statement, Dutton considered the Chinese diplomat’s statement inappropriate. “Maybe they are following the CCP’s instructions, but most Australians find the comments counterproductive,” he said. In September, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison decided to build a nuclear submarine in collaboration with Britain and the United States (AUKUS).
AUKUS has caused unrest in several countries besides China, one of which is France, which feels that Canberra has betrayed them and stabbed them in the back. This is because Australia first signed a contract with Paris to manufacture submarines. However, his second Canberra deal was scrapped shortly before the AUKUS announcement.
Several countries in Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Malaysia also protested against AUKUS, which they believe could intensify the arms race in the Indo-Pacific region.