SYDNEY/BEIJING, Sept 17 (dpa): Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday dismissed China's outraged response to a security alliance with the US and Britain that would see Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
China was not mentioned directly in the joint announcement of the so-called AUKUS alliance, but US President Joe Biden referred to "rapidly evolving threats" and a need to strengthen security and military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Morrison said the move was "in everybody's interests, including China's interests" to maintain a safe and stable region but added that Australia has a right to take decisions in its own interests and that China itself "has a very substantive programme of nuclear submarine building," in comments to radio station 2GB.
Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton told Sky News Australia the Chinese media comments about AUKUS were "embarrassing" and "make the case" about why such an alliance is necessary.
China's embassy in Australia said Friday the country should "abandon the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception" and "stop sliding further down on the road of harming China-Australia relations."
The embassy also rejected a US-Australian statement expressing concern for China's "expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea that are without legal basis" and calling for Beijing implement domestic legislation in line with the UN's UNCLOS treaty.
The joint ministerial statement came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of US Defence Lloyd Austin hosted their Australian counterparts for talks in Washington on Thursday.
The joint announcement by Morrison, Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said Australia should be able to acquire nuclear-powered submarines in the next 18 months. - dpa