China’s President Xi Jinping revealed that his country is ready to ink a Southeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free treaty in response to the AUKUS pact.
In a step also intended to enhance their dialogue, the Chinese president said: “China supports ASEAN’s efforts to build a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and is prepared to sign the protocol to the treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone as early as possible.”
He made this remark during the sessions of the online summit with ASEAN leaders on Sunday.
Xi joined a number of high-ranking Chinese officials who slammed the pact, including Zhao Lijian, who claimed the agreement will “intensify regional tensions, provoke military arms race and threaten the regional peace and stability”.
It’s worth mentioning that the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone is an agreement signed in 1995 between 10 Southeast Asian member-states and also known as the Bangkok Treaty. In fact, China is not one of those 10 members.