Taiwan MP says AUKUS pact is a ‘security net’ against China
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On Tuesday, Tokyo was said to be offered to join the security pact between the UK, the US and Australia, according to reports in Japan. It comes as the trilateral partners in AUKUS, which was formally launched on September 16, 2021, have just released a new fact sheet detailing its planned expansion in areas of military cooperation. This includes developing advanced hypersonic and counter-hypersonic weapon capabilities.
Hypersonic weapons are manoeuvrable weapons that whizz through the skies at a speed of more than 5,000 kilometres per hour, at least five times faster than the speed of sound.
Japan was allegedly approached to join the pact due to its “technological capabilities” in developing these weapons, Sankei Shimbun reports.
Tokyo has so far denied the claims of the media report.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told Reuters that Japan was “not asked to participate in AUKUS”, claiming there was no “fact” in Sankei Shimbun’s report.
This is despite the fact Japan has shown its support for AUKUS’ move to develop hypersonic and “counter-hypersonic” weapons.
Mr Matsuno has said: “Japan supports the actions of AUKUS to further strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas such as security and defence, and considers them meaningful.
“Japan will continue to strengthen cooperation in various forms with important partners, including the US, Australia and the UK to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Leaders Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison’s statement on the “new trilateral cooperation on hypersonic and counter-hypersonic” weapons is said to be a response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
It also comes as fears have soared that China and Russia are aligning to form a terrifying united front.
A joint statement between the two nations noted a “friendship between the two states has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation”.
And China has been testing hypersonic weapons of its own over the South China Sea as fears it will invade Taiwan, the independent island it views as its own, continues to soar.
Russia also reportedly used its own hypersonic missiles on an ammunition warehouse in western Ukraine.
The Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile has been branded by Putin as “an ideal weapon” that can fly at 10 times the speed of sound.
Russia‘s defence ministry said: “The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse containing missiles and aviation ammunition in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.”
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A British official has indicated that AUKUS leaders are keen to form a strong alliance to limit the threats of Beijing and Moscow, helped by the new hypersonic weapons deal.
They said: “Our ability to determine their use and to counter their use will be an important part of maintaining stability right across the world.”
The US has also tested its own hypersonic missile in mid-March, amid ongoing negotiations with Western allies over Putin’s brutal Ukraine invasion.
The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), launched from a B-52 bomber, blasted off to heights greater than 65,000 feet for 300 miles.
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