China Slams AUKUS Hypersonic Missile Pact as Asian NATO


China says the AUKUS alliance between the US, UK and Australia is an ”Anglo-Saxon clique” that threatens peace in the region.

 

China accused the US, UK, and Australia of being a threatening “Anglo-Saxon clique” after they said they would cooperate in developing hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare capabilities.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the AUKUS alliance between the three nations is an attempt to build an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO” that threatens to “undermine peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”

He said the pact echoed “the old thinking of Cold War mentality and bloc politics persists and the old trick of provoking military confrontation and adding fuel to the flame.”

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun warned earlier that the pact could fuel a crisis like the Ukraine conflict in other parts of the world. “Anyone who does not want to see the Ukrainian crisis should refrain from doing things which may lead the other parts of the world into a crisis like this,” Zhang said. “As the Chinese saying goes: if you do not like it, do not impose it against the others.”

 

China Outpaces US Tenfold on Hypersonic Missiles: US General

 

But while Zhao said Asia-Pacific countries would reject the AUKUS pact, India and the Philippines have welcomed AUKUS as an important counterbalance against China.

Manila’s top diplomat said in September that AUKUS addresses a military “imbalance” in Southeast Asia.

“The enhancement of a near abroad ally’s ability to project power should restore and keep the balance, rather than destabilise it,” Philippine foreign minister Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

 

China Security Challenge

“From New Delhi’s perspective, the new coalition signals a strong political resolve in Washington to confront the growing security challenges from Beijing,” C. Raja Mohan, senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, wrote in Foreign Policy.

US allies such as Japan and South Korea are also concerned about Beijing’s regional military and economic aspirations.

The bid to develop hypersonic weapons is seen as a catch-up attempt.

Both China and Russia have made progress in testing advanced versions of hypersonic missiles that travel at such high speeds they cannot be readily intercepted by defence systems. North Korea has also claimed a successful test of the technology

The missiles can also carry nuclear payloads. Zhao said a hypersonic arms race would increase nuclear proliferation risks and undermine peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. “Countries in the region should be on a higher alert,” he said.

Analysts say the US is lagging behind both Beijing and Moscow on the technology, although the Pentagon reportedly conducted its own successful tests last month.

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.