China issues stark warning to UK, US, and Australia over their latest move

Australia is attempting to prepare for potential war with China with the help of the UK and the US. But China has now issued a stark warning to all three countries.

China issues stark warning to UK, US, and Australia over their latest move
© Bloomberg / Getty Images
China issues stark warning to UK, US, and Australia over their latest move

The UK, US, and Australia have revealed details of the AUKUS partnership plan, which will provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as it attempts to counter Chinese activities in the Pacific Ocean.

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US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the plan at a ceremony at the US naval base in San Diego on Monday 13 March.

What is the AUKUS agreement?

The AUKUS project or pact was first announced in 2021. Under the deal, Australia will purchase three US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, with the possibility of buying an additional two if required, according to a joint statement.

The plan has multiple stages but will culminate in the late 2030's with the British and Australian production and operation of a new class of submarines built with British designs and American technology.

The project will also involve deploying a force of US and British submarines in Western Australia, to assist in training Australian crews and increasing deterrence.

Biden emphasised that the submarines will not be nuclear armed, only nuclear-powered, saying:

These boats will not have nuclear weapons of any kind on them.

China issues warning to UK, US, and Australia

It comes amid increasing tensions between China and the US over China's growing militarisation of the South China Sea, which Beijing claims a majority of despite international maritime law designating territory to Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and other countries.

And China certainly isn't happy about the latest development. At a daily briefing Monday 13 March, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the AUKUS partners had 'completely ignored the concerns of the international community and gone further down a wrong and dangerous road'.

He said the deal would 'stimulate an arms race, undermine the international nuclear non-proliferation system and damage regional peace and stability'.

Read more ⋙ US General predicts war with China in two years in leaked memo: 'My gut tells me we will fight'

Australia could face war with China in 3 years

However, there are fears that the submarines won't come soon enough. A panel of national security experts has warned that Australia faces the threat of war with China within three years. The experts told Australian publications The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in a joint statement:

The need to dramatically strengthen our military and national security capabilities is urgent, but Australia is unprepared.

Most importantly, the group stressed that this is a responsibility for the whole country, not just for the military:

Most important of all is a psychological shift. Urgency must replace complacency. The recent decades of tranquillity were not the norm in human affairs, but an aberration. Australia’s holiday from history is over.

Lavina Lee, a foreign policy expert from Macquarie University, said;

I have to say, the critical threats stem from one source – China. I think China presents the most comprehensive challenge to the regional order that we have faced for the last 70 years after World War II.

The others agreed, saying:

Our assessment of the risk of war is based on President Xi Jinping’s aggressive stance and rapid military build-up. China has growing capability and sense of entitlement. The balance of military power is moving in China’s favour.

Read more:

Henry Kissinger warns war between US and China would be a ‘threat to human survival’

Chinese minister sends warning to US about 'stabbing China in the back'

US and Australia could go to war with China over Taiwan

They believe that the war Xi is preparing for is over Taiwan. Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army major general, said:

They are very clear about their intentions for their region, in particular with Taiwan... this campaign of aggression and coercion will only continue towards its logical conclusion, which is the reincorporation of Taiwan.

US President Joe Biden was asked by 60 Minutes whether, unlike in Ukraine, the US would participate in war if China were to invade Taiwan and he replied: 'Yes'. And Washington expects Australia would participate too.

Ryan said:

I have always found the idea of our China choice a strange one. We have made our choice. If the United States goes to war with Taiwan, we are going to support them one way or the other.

Read more:

Reuters: 'Biden hosts UK, Australia to reveal anti-China submarine pact'

Reuters: 'Eyeing China, Biden and allies unveil nuclear-powered submarine plan for Australia'

CNN: 'Australia, the UK and US are joining forces in the Pacific, but will nuclear subs arrive quick enough to counter China?'

The Sydney Morning Herald: 'Australia faces the threat of war with China within three years – and we’re not ready'

UK government is on alert after China's latest move UK government is on alert after China's latest move