All parties should cherish and carry forward the ASEAN-centric regional cooperation structure, and oppose any attempt to undermine the good momentum of regional cooperation and dialogue, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
Wang Wenbin was responding to a media inquiry about reports that Malaysia and Indonesia had recently expressed deep concerns about Australia’s development of nuclear submarines under the AUKUS trilateral security partnership.
In response, Wang said Malaysia and Indonesia’s statements reflected the widely shared concerns of countries in the region.
He said the AUKUS trilateral security partnership and the nuclear submarine cooperation create nuclear proliferation risks, undermine the international non-proliferation system, and undercut the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and ASEAN countries’ efforts to build a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Southeast Asia.
The AUKUS trilateral security partnership embodies the Cold War mentality, double standards and contempt of rules with a clear political agenda, Wang said, adding that it aims to introduce major-power confrontation and blocs politics into the region, provoke bloc confrontation and force regional countries to take sides, undermine the ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture with the outdated Cold War mentality and compromise regional prosperity and stability, build U.S.-centered rules and order in the region to maintain U.S. dominance and hegemonic system, and challenge the international nuclear non-proliferation system, of which the NPT is the cornerstone, to serve U.S. geopolitical self-interests.
Wang said China’s belief that the structure of ASEAN-centric regional cooperation conforms to East Asian traditions and realistic needs and effectively promotes peace and development in the region, and thus should be cherished and carried forward by all parties.
He said that any wrong practices that weaken and single out ASEAN’s centrality, undermine the good momentum of regional cooperation and dialogue, create division, and fuel confrontation in the region, will be guarded against and opposed by countries in the region and the international community.