publish date 2021-09-18 16:55:53
Amid global talk about actually starting a cold war between the United States and China, after the new alliance between Washington, London and Canberra, under which Washington will provide Australia with technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, Beijing’s options do not seem open to confront this new alliance in the Indo-Pacific, amid Global anticipation of the Chinese reaction and the limits of its ceiling.
Beijing criticized the agreement, which it described as “security”, considering it “irresponsible” and “narrow-minded”, amid Sino-Australian tensions in the vicinity of the South China Sea, in which China enjoys great influence.
Beijing considered, in the words of its Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, that the alliance against it risks “serious damage to regional peace… and intensifying the arms race,” criticizing what he described as “outdated Cold War mentality,” warning that the three countries “are harming its interests.”
Chinese state media published editorials criticizing the agreement, and the Global Times said Australia had “now transformed itself into an opponent of China”.
The United States is sharing its submarine technology for the first time in 50 years, having previously only shared it with Britain.
This means Australia will now be able to build faster nuclear-powered submarines that are harder to detect by conventionally powered naval fleets, can stay in the water for months, and be able to launch missiles over longer distances, although Australia says it does not. It intends to equip it with nuclear weapons.
The new partnership, under the name “Ocos”, was announced during a remote joint press conference between US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, on Thursday.
Although China was not explicitly mentioned, the three leaders repeatedly cited regional security concerns that they said had “growthed significantly”.
“This is a historic opportunity for the three countries, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and advance security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” a joint statement said.
Experts say that the “Ocos” alliance may represent the most important security arrangement between the three countries since World War II, and this means that Australia will become the seventh country in the world to have the operation of nuclear-powered submarines.
Jay Buckenstein of the Asia Society in Australia said: “It does show that the three countries are putting an end to the aggressive moves (of China)”.
Boris Johnson later said the agreement would “maintain security and stability around the world” and would create “hundreds of highly skilled jobs”.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the BBC that China was “engaging in one of the largest military spending operations in history…Our partners in those regions want to be able to hold their ground.”
In recent years, Beijing has been accused of stirring up tensions in disputed areas such as the South China Sea.
China has been increasingly assertive about what it describes as centuries-old rights in the disputed region, and is rapidly building up its military presence to support these claims.
The United States has strengthened its military presence in the region, and has invested heavily in other partnerships in the region with countries such as Japan and South Korea, and experts say the presence of submarines in Australia is critical to US influence in the region.
This agreement comes despite the fact that the economic relationship and the volume of trade exchange between China and Australia is very large, as China is Australia’s largest trading partner. Telecom giant “Huawei”, and supported investigations aimed at finding out the causes of the Corona pandemic.
Western countries have been wary of growing Chinese investment in infrastructure in the Pacific islands, and have criticized its harsh trade sanctions against countries such as Australia, which last year imposed taxes on Australian wines of up to 200 percent.
Read also: The Guardian reads the repercussions of the US-Britain-Australia agreement
Meanwhile, the US support for Australia was prominent, as US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said Thursday that the United States “strongly supports Australia in its defenses against China.”
“Beijing has seen over the past months that Australia will not back down, and that threats of economic retaliation and pressure will not work,” he added.
China was not the only victim in the new agreement, although it was the most strategic victim of it. However, France, in turn, received what Paris described as a “stab in the back”, given that the agreement canceled a deal to buy French submarines that it had concluded with Australia for about 50 billion dollars, which became by virtue of the cancellation. virtually.
In this regard, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced, on Friday, the recall of the country’s ambassadors to the United States and Australia, against the background of the crisis.
Paris denounced the “exceptional danger” of the announcement of the strategic partnership between Washington, London and Canberra, which led to Australia canceling a huge contract to buy submarines from France.
“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately summon to Paris to consult our ambassadors to the United States and Australia,” Le Drian said in a statement.
He continued, “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of what Australia and the United States announced on September 15.”
Earlier on Friday, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed her country’s understanding of France’s “disappointment” after its decision to abandon the purchase of submarines from it, stressing the desire to continue working with Paris.
“I totally understand the disappointment,” said Maris Payne, from Washington. There is no doubt that these are very difficult issues to deal with.” But Paris considered, in the words of its foreign minister, that what happened was “a stab in the back, we have established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed.”
Read also: France recalls its ambassadors to Australia and America .. and the latter comments
Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said he understood why France was disappointed with the agreement, adding that the EU had not been consulted about the new alliance.
“This leads us again … to think about the need to make the issue of European strategic autonomy a priority, and it shows that we must live on our own,” Borrell said.
With the signing of the agreement, which took the form and dimension of a security and military rather than an economic partnership, the British Guardian newspaper shed light on the repercussions of this signing and the changes it could entail in the region.
Under the title “Confrontation with China,” the newspaper said in its editorial that “the historic agreement reinforces old relations, with the Indo-Pacific region entering a new phase,” adding that “no one believes, especially China, that the new agreement does not aim to contain Beijing.” But the question is: To what extent is this proven?
The newspaper stressed that the basic project is to enable Australia to obtain nuclear-powered submarines, and one of the reasons for Australia’s frustration over the failure of the contract to acquire French-made ships.
But on the other hand, according to the newspaper, the agreement will open the door to military cooperation and a broad partnership in more than one field.
And the newspaper continued, saying that China’s behavior raises alarm bells at the international level, noting that the agreement commits Britain and Australia to the position of the United States, and enhances American military power in the region, despite the public anger of France, the most important player in Europe in the Indo-Pacific.
The newspaper considered that “a resolute and unified response to China’s actions from democratic countries is logical and desirable,” adding that “it remains to be seen whether the new agreement will constrain it or push it to strengthen its army further, to seek closer relations with Russia, and to intensify forms of other pressure.
And the newspaper pointed out that US President Joe Biden may believe that he can continue his “tough competition” by confronting China in some areas and communicating with it in others, which China strongly rejects.
The newspaper concluded by saying that the importance of the agreement cannot currently be determined, noting that confidence in the commitments of the United States was shaken during the era of former President Trump, but stressed that the agreement would exacerbate divisions between China and the West.
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Source : ألدستور