By Li Wei
BEIJING, Oct. 28 -- The 5th session of Beijing Xiangshan Forum Webinar 2021 was held on the evening of October 26 around the topic of “Strategic Stability: Impasse and Way Out”, in which the establishment of the so-called trilateral security partnership, AUKUS, by the US, Britain and Australia and their nuclear submarine cooperation were heatedly discussed.
Fan Jishe, a researcher with the International Strategic Research Institute at the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, took the so-called trilateral security partnership as a serious shock to the existing international nuclear order and advised the three countries to think twice before making the leap.
Richard Tanter, Senior Research Associate at Australia’s Nautilus Institute, said the three-state nuclear submarine cooperation may trigger greater concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Jean-Louis Lozier, an advisor at the Security Studies Center of the French Institute of International Relations, said it will likely be emulated by other non-nuclear states in the region.
"The AUKUS created a bad precedent of nuclear states transferring nuclear submarine reactor technology and weapon-grade nuclear materials to non-nuclear states," said Yu Xiaopeng, a researcher with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences. He also pointed out that some countries and regional organizations, including Malaysia, Indonesia and ASEAN, have voiced serious concerns and dissatisfaction with the move.
Participating experts in the auditoria also felt deeply about the speeches made by the representatives and shared their views when interviewed after the session.
Liu Lin, an associate researcher with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, analyzing from the perspective of middle and small countries, believed that the AUKUS goes against the nuclear non-proliferation mechanism and will pose a challenge to the non-nuclear zone in Southeast Asia. She said that ASEAN has been trying to play a central role in regional security cooperation, but the clique-style multilateral mechanism among the US, Britain and Australia declared that major powers like Britain and the US are more reliant on their own alliance mechanism when tackling regional security issues, which will undoubtedly undermine the ASEAN-led regional security architecture among the Southeast Asian countries.
According to Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, the nuclear non-proliferation system that the international community has worked hard to establish in the past few decades may be subverted by the US and its new trilateral deal. The three-state alliance presumes imaginary enemies and invests resources in confronting with them, which is the embodiment of Cold War mentality. The world today is facing more and more non-traditional security issues, so all countries should work hand in hand to cope with those challenges, but the formation of the US-led military clique exposes the superpower’s unilateral and narrow-minded security outlook.
Tong Zhen, an associate researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, emphasized that the so-called new security partnership of the US, Britain and Australia is essentially a new military bloc under America’s lead that aims at uniting with allies to target the so-called strategic competitors. While the US and Britain are banning Iran and other countries from developing nuclear weapons, they are exporting nuclear submarines and transferring nuclear technologies to their allies. This fully exposes their practice of “double standards” on nuclear non-proliferation.
Zhao Xiaozhuo, deputy director of the Secretariat of Beijing Xiangshan Forum, pointed out that the three countries actually each had their own calculations although they seemed on the same page about the nuclear submarine cooperation. The US urgently needs a military platform to stand on the forefront of containing and confronting China, Australia is eager to play a bigger role in regional affairs, while the post-Brexit Britain dreams of reliving the past colonial glory in the Asia-Pacific region.