According to the prime minister, the submarine deal and embryonic defence and security pact between Australia, Britain and America – Aukus – is no more threatening to anyone than a koala bear: “Aukus is not intended to be adversarial towards any other power. It merely reflects the close relationship that we have with the United States and with Australia, the shared values that we have and the sheer level of trust between us that enables us to go to this extraordinary extent of sharing nuclear technology in the way that we are proposing to do.”
Pull the other one, as they don’t quite say in Beijing. It looks as if China is being encircled. It is worth dwelling on the view from the east as “global Britain” pivots away from its priorities in Europe and towards the Indo-Pacific region, a slice of the globe the British abandoned – seemingly for good – when they closed the naval base in Singapore, the last relic of empire, a half century ago.
From the point of view of the People’s Republic, Aukus looks very much like another move in a new military alliance aimed at China, and adds, worryingly for them, to the existing diplomatic and defence relationships in the region, led by America – involving Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and (latterly) India.
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