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China criticizes the AUKUS alliance, expressing concerns over power rivalry in Pacific

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi voiced his disapproval of the AUKUS defense alliance among the US, UK, and Australia during a shared press conference with Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

This statement was made during Wang’s visit to Papua New Guinea, as reported by China’s Foreign Ministry. Wang emphasized his belief that the Pacific region should not be a battleground for major powers’ competition.

He strongly stated that the Pacific should not serve as a playground for dominant nations, expressing concerns over the US, UK, and Australia’s decision to develop nuclear submarines in the area.

He contended that this action contradicts the goals of the Treaty of Rarotonga, also known as the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty of 1985.

Wang once again expressed China’s opposition to regional conflicts between alliances, stating that this approach does not correspond to the requirements and historical progression of Pacific nations.

He further underscored China’s dedication to “South-South collaboration,” a concept rooted in the unity of developing countries and devoid of geopolitical motives or objectives.

Ties with Pacific island nations

In response to initiatives like AUKUS and QUAD aimed at reducing China’s economic dominance in the Pacific, Beijing has been working to enhance its connections with Pacific island countries to establish a stronger foothold in the region. This strategy involves signing significant security agreements, such as the one with the Solomon Islands in 2022, which has sparked debate.

This deal has led to worries about the possible arrival of Chinese warships in Solomon Islands’ ports and the authorization for Chinese security personnel to preserve public order, safeguard lives and properties, and protect Chinese projects in the nation.

Detractors contend that the accord essentially functions as a “security arrangement,” enabling China to station its military forces for the safeguarding of its citizens and initiatives in the southern Pacific Ocean.

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