Speaking on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told the gathered press that Beijing was concerned by Canberra’s destabilizing impact on regional security. 

Hua was responding to questions about a new US-Australian partnership to develop and test air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles. The two allies announced the accord under the bilateral Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment program, or SCIFiRE, on Monday. 

The spokeswoman claimed the US has led the development of hypersonic weapons in recent years and is responsible for the increasing the momentum of the arms race with China and Russia, which has a serious impact on strategic stability. 

“Australia closely follows the pace of the United States, relying on the so-called ‘China threat theory’ and ‘Russian threat theory’ to make excuses for its expansion of arms, which has added instability factors to the security of the region and the world. China is concerned about this,” she said. 

Hua claimed China has always pursued a defensive national security policy and does not have any intention to target Australia or enter into an arms race with them. 

“The development of our military power is not directed at any specific country. We do not have a global combat strategy and plan like the United States, nor do we intend to target Australia, let alone an arms race with other countries,” she noted. 

The spokeswoman concluded by urging Canberra to reconsider its own security interests and to do more to enhance mutual trust in the region. 

Relations between China and Australia have been strained in 2020 but took a further turn for the worst on Monday after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted a photoshopped image of a grinning Australian soldier standing on the Australian and Afghan flags and holding a bloodied knife next to a throat of a child, a reference to allegations of elite Australian soldiers executing prisoners and civilians.  

Australian PM Scott Morrison slammed the doctored image as “truly repugnant” and “a terrible slur on our great defense forces.” 

Beijing has refused to apologize, saying Canberra should focus on its Afghan war crimes investigation. 

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