AUKUS Focus: Global temperatures rise over US-China strategic sparring

By Dasblog

WASHINGTON: Global political temperatures are rising sharply after the US-UK decision to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines under a new AUKUS alliance ignited China’s fury over its territorial claims and sparked disquiet in Europe regarding Washington’s traditional Atlantic alliances.
Australia’s defence minister Peter Dutton, currently on a visit to the US along with foreign minister Marise Payne, ostensibly to seal the AUKUS alliance, bluntly warned on that a US-led war with China cannot be ruled out given Beijing’s professed aim of taking over Taiwan. The onus lay with China to avert any potential conflict, he suggested.
“The Chinese … are very clear of their intent with regard to Taiwan [and] the United States has been very clear of their intention toward Taiwan. Nobody wants to see conflict but that really is a question for the Chinese,” Dutton told Sky News on Thursday.

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The candid remarks about the formation of an Anglo alliance came even as China, which has vowed to ‘reunify’ Taiwan with the mainland, by force if necessary, reportedly deployed its fighter jets over what it regards as a renegade province in a show of force. Taiwan said its air force was scrambled to warn away Chinese jets – including eight fighters and two support aircraft – that had strayed into its airspace.
Dutton’s reference to US intention toward Taiwan alludes to the Congressional Taiwan Relations Act, which requires Washington to “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defencive character,” and “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.” This, despite Washington recognizing a “One-China” policy, that depending on strategic requirements, allows the US to mollify or pressure China.
The flare-up in the Pacific came amid disquiet on the Atlantic side of the world where France and Germany were among countries that eyed the AUKUS alliance with unease, partly for commercial reasons, and partly from concern that the US was diluting NATO as it pivots militarily towards the Pacific to meet the Chinese challenge. There is also concern in some quarters about what AUKUS will mean for the Quad, which has two non-Anglo nation, Japan and India.
While Taiwan has welcomed the strengthening of Australia with some nuclear muscle, Japan and India, whose leaders will be in Washington next week for the Quad meeting with the leaders of Australia and the US, have been circumspect about the developments. While Covid and climate change have been listed among subject the four leaders are expected to discuss, rising global political temperatures are certain to be part of the exchanges.

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