China has warned Australia will become a “potential target for a nuclear strike” amid fears a submarine pact with America and Britain will fuel a terrifying arms race. State-controlled media reported Chinese military experts fear the subs could be armed at short notice with nukes, despite assurances they will only carry conventional weapons.
Australia announced plans yesterday to acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new Indo-Pacific security alliance with the United States and Britain.
Known as AUKUS, the pact will see Australia get the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines — but not armed with nukes — as part of an agreement intended to counter China’s rising military might. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the alliance as “seriously damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying the arms race, and undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”.
But the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the Global Times, went one step further and directly threatened Australia with nuclear destruction. The article cited an anonymous “senior Chinese military expert” that the new submarines could potentially be fitted with nuclear weapons provided by the US or UK. He said: “This would make Australia a potential target for a nuclear strike, because nuclear-armed states like China and Russia are directly facing the threat from Australia’s nuclear submarines which serve US strategic demands.”
China is believed to have between 250 and 350 nuclear weapons, compared to America’s colossal arsenal of 5,800 and Russia’s total of 6,375. It is busy building “at least 250 long range missile silos” in three locations — sparking fears a new nuclear arms race is underway.
A third missile silo field in a remote area in Inner Mongolia has reportedly been photographed by a European Space Agency satellite as Beijing launches its largest ever nuke expansion. Meanwhile, Taiwan staged anti-invasion drills amid fears China will launch an attack at any moment.