China vs Australia tensions erupt as Beijing sparks war crimes row

AUKUS deal 'sends a message to China' says Panetta

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The new trilateral deal between the US, the UK and Australia has sparked division across the world between countries. Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, has tweeted a number of remarkable attacks throughout the day directed at the countries of the Aukus agreement.

But the latest one has further heightened tensions between China and Australia.

Mr Lijian’s official Twitter account tweeted: “#Australian troops brutally killed prisoners of war & civilians by shooting or throat-slitting in #Afghanistan.

“Truth has come to light, but justice is yet to be upheld.

“Those who committed war crimes remain at large. Afghan lives matter.

“Australia owes the world an explanation.”

Around the same time, Mr Lijian was also using Twitter to launch further attacks at the US.

He tweeted: “Reckless #US drone strikes gravely violate international humanitarian law.

“It’s not just irresponsible use of force, but outright crime.

“They were purely ‘killing for the sake of killing.’”

Mr Lijian added: “The true number of #Afghan civilian deaths caused by these airstrikes is much higher than the official count.

“The #US owes it to the Afghan people to launch an investigation, find out the truth, hold the perpetrators accountable & make sure such tragedies won’t be repeated.”

Mr Lijian has been very vocal in speeches about the recent Aukus agreement between the US, Australia and the UK.

He said in a speech in Beijing following the announcement: “Faced with the common challenge of fighting the epidemic and economic recovery, the people in the Asia-Pacific region need growth and employment, not submarines and gunpowder.”

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The spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry also described the trilateral agreement as “extremely irresponsible”.

In a separate tweet, Mr Lijian tweeted: “The Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) nuclear submarine deal serves as a great reminder for Europe that its trans-Atlantic ally can be so heartlessly treacherous.”

China has not been the only country to have criticised the trilateral Aukus agreement.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that he believes the agreement will “provoke other powers to act more aggressively in the region, especially in the South China Sea”.

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry has also said they will be tracking the agreement with “caution” and has urged Australia to continue to “maintain peace, stability and security”, a promise made by Canberra as part of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

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