CHINA has slammed Britain and America for "aggravating an arms race" after the countries announced a historic security pact to build nuclear submarines for Australia.
The Communist regime’s Washington DC embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu accused the nations of adopting a "Cold War mentality" like the terrifying nuke stand-off between the US and the Soviet Union in the 20th century.
The three countries' leaders unveiled the alliance dubbed AUKUS last night in what was seen as a move to counter China's rising might.
This comes amid raising tensions in disputed territories such as the South China Sea and Taiwan.
But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the agreement "seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race".
He said: "The export of highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology by the United States and Britain to Australia once again proves that they use nuclear exports as a tool of geopolitical games and adopt double standards, which is extremely irresponsible."
He added that the deal gave regional countries "reason to question Australia's sincerity in abiding by its nuclear non-proliferation commitments".
He urged the Western allies to "abandon their outdated Cold War zero-sum thinking" or risk "shooting themselves in the foot".
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The announcement comes as Australia has been boosting defence spending with a wary eye on a rapidly rising and more assertive China.
The alliance is seen as a bid to offset the Beijing's growing economic and military reach in the Asia-Pacific region.
It is busy building "at least 250 long range missile silos" in three locations — sparking fears a new nuclear arms race is underway.
A third missile silo field in a remote area in Inner Mongolia has reportedly been photographed by a European Space Agency satellite as Beijing launches its largest ever nuke expansion.
The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the Global Times, said: "The risk of a China-US military confrontation has increased.
"The reason is that the two countries' strategic hostility has continued to increase, and their mutual trust has dropped to almost zero.
The export of highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology by the United States and Britain to Australia once again proves that they use nuclear exports as a tool of geopolitical games and adopt double standards, which is extremely irresponsible
"Metaphorically, if the wind blows the door shut now, both countries would believe that the other side is slamming the door.
"If an incident like the 2001 in-flight collision in the South China Sea happens again today, it is difficult for the two sides to cool the incident down and resolve it peacefully."
Peter Jennings, head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank, said Australia's decision to acquire nuclear submarines was a response to this.
He said: "We should call the first submarine in this new category the Xi Jinping, because no person is more responsible for Australia going down this track than the current leader of the Chinese Communist Party."
Meanwhile, Taiwan staged anti-invasion drills amid fears China will launch an attack at any moment.
It comes after China flew 19 nuke bombers and fighter jets into Taiwan air space, sparking World War Three fears.
Taiwan is stepping up its defense as China has grown increasingly assertive in both East China and South China Seas.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has long threatened to use force to bring it under its control.
According to Taiwan's Defence Ministry last week's Chinese military incursion involved 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighter jets, an anti-submarine aircraft, and four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons.
China staged massive military drills in July, including assault landings and island-control exercises.
With tensions rising in the region, Australian Defence Force chief Gen. Angus Campbell welcomed the shift to nuclear submarines.
Gen Campbell said: "Our strategic environment has deteriorated.
"That challenging environment is becoming more challenging and is set to do so into the future at an accelerated pace."
Unlike nuclear-powered submarines, conventional subs that are travelling long distances must spend time on the surface, where they are most vulnerable, using their diesel engines while they recharge their batteries.
The batteries propel them underwater.
The first of the nuclear subs, which are to be constructed in the Australian city of Adelaide, will be built by 2040.
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