The United States continues to build pressure on China by collaborating with the United Kingdom and Australia. The three countries announced the AUKUS pact that aims at increasing security in the Indo-Pacific region. The pact has been criticized by China for “threatening” peace in the region and intensifying the arms race.

On Wednesday, Sept. 15 via a virtual conference, the heads of state of Australia, the U.S. and the UK announced the pact. U.S. President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared that the deal was made over safety concerns in the region. While they did not mention China as the aggressor, the pact appears to be in reaction to the Asian country’s moves in regions like the South China Sea.

According to BBC, this will be the first time in 50 years that the U.S. will be sharing submarine technology with any country. The UK was the only country that the U.S. had shared the highly guarded technology with. The primary part of the pact will see Australia adding nuclear submarines to its fleet. The pact will also see the development of cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and undersea capabilities, Reuters reported.

The countries involved stressed that Australia will only be using nuclear propulsion and will not be fielding nuclear weapons. This will make Australia the seventh country to have nuclear submarines. It will be joining the ranks of the U.S., UK, France, Russia, India and China.

In response to the AUKUS pact, Chinese authorities shared their condemnation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular briefing in Beijing on Thursday, Sept. 16 spoke about the pact. He said that the move was “severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying an arms race, and damaging international nuclear non-proliferation efforts.”

He further added, “China always believes that any regional mechanism should conform to the trend of peace and development of the times and help enhance mutual trust and cooperation... It should not target any third party or undermine its interests.”

China is not the only country that shared its disapproval of the AUKUS. France claims that Australia's move was a “stab in the back”. The two countries had a deal in which France was to build 12 submarines for Australia. Australia has backed out of the deal after accepting assistance from the UK and the U.S.

New Zealand also announced that it would not allow the neighboring country’s submarines to enter its waters. The ban would be in line with the existing policy banning nuclear submarines. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that New Zealand has not been approached to join the pact.

submarine-406881_960_720 Representation Image Submarine Moored Port Bay Amsterdam Life-of-Pix/ Pixabay