China is angry and confused over the Aukus Agreement, a deal in which the US and Pacific Island nations agreed to joint management of a critical marine environment in the Pacific Ocean.
The agreement, reached in July 2020, was designed to protect the region’s biodiversity and ensure sustainable fishing. But China has reacted angrily, accusing the US of trying to establish a “sphere of influence” over the region.
“The US-led initiative is a path of error and danger,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a statement. “China firmly opposes any country’s attempt to establish hegemony in the region by taking advantage of certain countries’ small size and weak capacity.”
The agreement also includes Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific island nations, and calls for the creation of a new “International Fisheries Management and Conservation Zone” to protect vulnerable species.
China’s objections to the agreement appear to be rooted in its longstanding opposition to US hegemony in the region. It has accused the US of attempting to “contain” China’s growing influence in the Pacific.
China has also voiced concerns over the potential impact the agreement could have on its fishing industry, as it would impose restrictions on the number of fishing vessels allowed in the zone.
At the same time, China has also expressed confusion over the agreement, as it was not consulted prior to its signing. This has led to speculation that the US and other signatories may have deliberately left China out of the process in order to prevent it from blocking the agreement.
The US has denied these allegations, saying that China was simply not invited to the negotiations. Despite this, the agreement has caused a stir in China, and it remains to be seen how the country will respond in the coming weeks and months.