BEIJING, February 1. /TASS/. The military cooperation of Australia, the UK and the US within the AUKUS trilateral format is provoking a military standoff in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning said during a briefing Wednesday.
"The establishment of the so-called AUKUS trilateral security partnership is effectively aimed at provoking a military confrontation through military cooperation," she said, commenting on a question about the potential expansion of AUKUS to include India and Japan.
She noted that AUKUS’ activities increase the risk of nuclear proliferation and ramp up the arms race in the Asia-Pacific region.
"We are deeply concerned about this and we strongly oppose it," Mao Ning said.
Australia, the UK and the US announced the establishment of AUKUS in 2021. Under the agreement, Australia plans, in particular, to build at least eight nuclear submarines with US technologies, with the first ones planned to be commissioned in 2036, as well as equip its armed forces with American cruise missiles. Beijing believes that AUKUS’ activities are aimed at deterring China in the region.