China Threatens to 'Make Australia Potential Target for Nuclear Strike' over AUKUS
Chinese Communist Party issues furious warning over Australia - UK - US alliance
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has issued a bone-chilling warning in response to the "AUKUS" deal by threatening to "make Australia a potential target for a nuclear strike."
The CCP made the threat through China's state-controlled media propaganda outlets.
China issued the furious warning in response to Australia's new three-way alliance with the U.K. and U.S., dubbed "AUKUS."
Under the AUKUS deal, Australia will be given the technology to build at least eight nuclear-powered - but not nuclear-armed - submarines.
The move comes as the West seeks to counter China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
The AUKUS alliance "seriously damages regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and undermines the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a direct statement.
And China's Global Times "news" website - a mouthpiece for the ruling communist government - went one step further, saying the move could result in a nuclear strike on Australia.
The article cited an anonymous "senior Chinese military expert" who said Australia would pose a nuclear threat to other countries because the new submarines could potentially be fitted with nuclear weapons provided by the US or UK.
"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," the expert said.
'Beijing and Moscow won't treat Canberra as ''an innocent non-nuclear power,'' but 'a US ally which could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime,' the expert added.
The article warned Mr. Morrison's ambition to beef up Australia's military "could bring destructive consequences" in the event of nuclear war and said his insistence that Australia does not want nuclear missiles is "meaningless."
China is believed to have between 250 and 350 nuclear weapons, compared to American's arsenal of 5,800 and Russia's total of 6,375.
In July satellite photos emerged which appeared to show China building a huge missile silo base in the desert town of Hami, northern Xinjiang province.
Researchers believe the site could expand to 110 silos, which can be filled with intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
China's DF-31 nuclear missile can travel up to 11,200km at 8km per second, reaching the US or Australia in less than half an hour.
Only eight countries have nuclear weapons: The US, UK, France, China, India, Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea.
Australia has no experience with nuclear weapons or energy and Mr. Morrison said he has no intentions to change that.
Prime Minister Morrison had been working in secret for nearly two years with a group of advisors to secure a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, allowing Australia to push back against an increasingly assertive China.
Unsurprisingly, Beijing has reacted furiously at the new arrangement which threatens President Xi Jinping's ambitions for military dominance in the Indo-Pacific region.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Mr. Lijian, known widely Down Under for trolling Australians on Twitter, called the trilateral group "extremely irresponsible."
"China always believes that any regional mechanism must go with the trend of the times for peace and development, and should be conducive to mutual trust and cooperation between regional countries," he said at a media conference.
China's President Xi Jinping currently controls the world's largest Navy, when measured purely by the number of vessels - comprising 250 combat vehicles, including large numbers of corvettes and subs.
He is using the fleet to lay claim to the entire South China Sea - something the West and its allies hotly dispute - while also menacing Taiwan.
Western nations have been pushing back, sailing so-called "freedom of navigation" missions through the region to test Xi's resolve - with a recent and high-profile mission sailed by Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and her "strike group," comprised of British and American destroyers alongside support vessels.
The US possesses what is widely regarded as the world's most powerful navy which includes a huge fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.