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Beijing insists £200m nuclear submarine deal raises the threat of war

The UK, Australian and US leaders hold a press conference

(L-R) Australian PM Anthony Albanese, Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak speaking at San Diego Naval Base (Picture: No 10 Downing Street)

China has accused the UK, Australia and the US of embarking on a ‘path of danger’ by doing a deal to build a new generation of nuclear submarines.

Beijing also labelled the £200million agreement a ‘timebomb to peace’.

The deal, announced by Aukus leaders Rishi Sunak, Joe Biden and Anthony Albanese in San Diego, California, will see Australia take delivery of eight subs over the next 30 years to deter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.

Mr Biden said it would bolster peace and stressed the subs will be ‘nuclear- powered, not nuclear-armed’.

But China claims it violates the ‘object and purpose’ of the internationally agreed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

It also raised fears the deal could fuel an arms race and accused the allies of ‘double standards’ that will damage the effectiveness of international treaties.

Closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing

China’s President Jinping plans to strengthen his military in response to the deal (Picture: Noel Celis/Pool via REUTERS)

Chinese president Xi Jinping has vowed to strengthen his military in response to the plan.

‘We must build the people’s armed forces into a great wall of steel that safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests,’ he added.

Mr Sunak said on Monday the deal was dedicated to ‘maintaining freedom, peace, and security now and for generations to come’.

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