Joe Biden appears to forget Australian PMs name
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The former Labour leader accused Boris Johnson of starting “a new cold war” with his groundbreaking Aukus pact. Under the terms of the agreement, the three allies will co-operate on the development of the first-ever fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian navy.
Last night the Prime Minister hailed the agreement as “vital for defending our interests in the Indo-Pacific region”.
He said the trilateral alliance would “bring us closer than ever” and was important for “protecting our people back at home”.
The move has been widely interpreted as an attempt to check China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
Today, Mr Corbyn criticised the Aukus agreement.
“Starting a new cold war will not bring peace, justice and human rights to the world,” he declared.
His remarks echo China’s reaction to the deal.
The country’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the move “seriously undermined regional peace and stability”.
He said: “The export of highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology to Australia by the US and the UK proves once again that they are using nuclear exports as a tool for geopolitical game and adopting double standards.
“This is extremely irresponsible.”
The Chinese official added the UK, US and Australia needed to abandon their “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality” otherwise they would “only end up shooting themselves in the foot”.
Responding to Mr Corbyn’s attack on the deal, Conservative MP Richard Holden warned there had been a real risk in 2019 of the Islington North MP becoming Prime Minister.
“Imagine waking up every day, spinning the looney left, anti-British wheel and deciding which hostile totalitarian foreign power to back today,” he said.
“Russia one day, China the next. Labour’s kowtower in chief.”
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He added: “Don’t forget Sir Keir Starmer served in his shadow cabinet and tried to make him PM.”
Meanwhile, Tory MP for Redcar, Jacob Young, share a picture on Twitter that suggested surrendering to China was “Labour’s policy on arms”.
The Government has denied the policy is an attempt to cause hostilities with Beijing.
However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Chinese aggressive military expansion had led to the need for “reaction”.
“China has launched on a huge investment in its military and its surface fleet and aircraft.
“It is probably one of the largest armed forces on the planet,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“China is obviously engaged in a number of disputes around freedom of navigation.
“That just causes a reaction elsewhere.”
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