As of the recent developments, the United States has been trying to contain the spread of China in the South China Sea. China has emerged as a regional power in the Asian region and is expanding its influence over the Indo-Pacific region. To contest China a new three-way strategic defense alliance is formed between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The US is concerned about its hegemony in the region especially after evacuating from Afghanistan, the UK is eager to be involved in the Asia Pacific region after its exit from the European Union and Australia is concerned about China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The alliance aims to work to build a class of nuclear-propelled submarines and work together in the Indo-Pacific region and develop wider technologies. The alliance is known as AUKUS; this is the first time the United States has shared nuclear technology with an ally other than the UK. It means China faces a powerful new defense alliance in the Indo-Pacific, one that has been welcomed by regional partners such as Japan. It also reaffirms that, after Brexit, the US still wants the UK, and not the EU, engaged as its key military partner. It also gives Biden focus for his post-Afghanistan tilt to Asia.

According to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, there is a need to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific and to address the region’s current strategic environment. Even though Russia has invaded Ukraine, China remains the utmost challenger to the United States in the region. The US aims to shape the strategic environment around the regional power to limit its ‘aggressive actions’. According to Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, “China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do it”. This speech was the first time the Biden Administration had publicly stated its policies for China.

China’s relations with Russia, with the war in Ukraine still ongoing, have made it clear that the United States and its allies cannot maintain good relations with it. This bone of contention was made even more solid when China and Russia, a few weeks prior to the Ukraine invasion, signed a ‘no-limits partnership’. This partnership will be aiming to oppose all international diplomatic and economic systems overseen by the United States and its allies. China has lent Russia diplomatic support since the war in Ukraine began and has criticized NATO for its expansion toward Russian borders.

While the statements from AUKUS leaders talk about respect for sovereignty, rule of law, human dignity, and commitment to freedom and peaceful fellowship of nations, China sees red flags in all these factors. China believes that the presence of AUKUS in the Indo-Pacific region might be able to cause a rise in nuclear proliferation, introduce a new round of arms race, and cause regional prosperity and stability to destabilize. It can also pose a threat to the concept of building a nuclear-free zone in Southeast Asia and can lead to another Cold War in the Indo-Pacific region. According to the Foreign Minister of China, the three countries should respect regional people’s aspirations otherwise they will only end up hurting their own interests. It is easy to imagine that these are mere allegations by China to stop the spread of US hegemony in the Indo-Pacific region. However, Mainland scholars and analysts show genuine concern over AUKUS, the US lead coalition which is also supported by Japan. Their reasoning is that AUKUS has focused its fears on the future of the Indo-Pacific, which is going to put the rest of the countries in the region in danger. The Chinese military and research analysts consider the AUKUS as part of the geostrategic competition which means that China will have to increase its combat readiness to be ready for any confrontations in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. While others look at it as “American retrenchment and strategic readjustment” in the face of great changes that the US had to face in terms of its reducing influence over the Asian region compared to China’s and the growing perception of a China threat in the West.

Also Read: AUKUS: A Beginning of a Nuclearized Era

According to the China Foreign Affairs University’s Institute of International Relations, AUKUS demonstrates how America lacks the strength and stamina to strategically contain China and engage in a power competition in the Western Pacific, so it needs the support of loyal and dependable allies. The US strategy to contain China has not gained popular support from the US allies, because many of them still see China as an important strategic partner. As a result, the US has taken the route of multilateralism and is using this strategy to convince some of its partners to join the alliance. Australia will be acting as the ‘yardstick’ for the US in the overall Indo-Pacific strategy.

Australia already does not share a good relationship with China. It was considered to be a pioneer of anti-China behavior, even before AUKUS. It is being suspected of playing dirty and violating the spirit of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons by the Chinese diplomats although there are no rules that Australia is violating.

Since the new administration has taken office in the United States, the previous reassurances of the US government’s breaking away from the containment policy have seemingly hollowed out. Under Biden, China has been named a high-level strategic threat that the US has to counter. In his own words, Biden stated that he will not let China become one of the leading countries in the world. With the China containment policy and making an alliance with some of its most dependable allies, it seems as if the United States is trying to hold on to the shreds of its hegemony in the South Asian region. The US is currently the picture of a broken man that is denying accepting his fate. However, that is not all. China, while pointed out serious threats to the region, forgot to mention its own role in the escalation of those threats especially pertaining to the proliferation of military and/or nuclear arsenal, because China is increasing its military capabilities in the face of India and now AUKUS.

Also Read: A New Era In Space Are We Headed To Space War?

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