China Wants to Join Southeast Asia’s Nuclear-Free Zone. Why Now?
President Xi Jinping recently announced that China wants to adhere to Southeast Asia’s nuclear-free zone “as early as possible" to become the first nuclear state to join the pact. Musto finds that Xi wants to act now in order to distract from China’s nuclear build-up and, more importantly, counter the AUKUS security partnership.
China is ready to rock with the Treaty of Bangkok.
In a rare appearance at the special online summit for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Nov. 22, China’s President Xi Jinping announced that China is prepared to sign the protocol of a 1995 agreement that establishes Southeast Asia as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Under the agreement, known as the Bangkok Treaty, 10 regional states renounce the right to nuclear weapons in any form within the ASEAN zone. If it joins the treaty, China would agree not to use or threaten the use of nuclear weapons within the zone or against its members. It would make China the first nuclear-weapon state to adhere.
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