Historic Defense Pact between the US, the UK and Australia to deal with China

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The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have announced an ambitious defense pact aimed at taking on China in the Indo-Pacific, and which will include the development of nuclear submarines for the Australians.

The pact, called AUKUS by the English initials of the three Anglo-Saxon countries, aims to strengthen trilateral cooperation in advanced defense technologies, such as artificial intelligence, underwater systems and long-distance surveillance.

“Our nations, and indeed the world, depend on a free and open Indo-Pacific that lasts and flourishes for decades to come,” said the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in statements to the press at the White House.

Biden has not mentioned China, nor have Australia’s prime ministers, Scott Morrison; and the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson; who have delivered speeches on the subject telematically, through televisions installed on both sides of the US president.

However, the United States has made clear its interest in containing China’s advance in the Pacific, and with the new pact it wants to involve more in that mission “Europe, and in particular the United Kingdom,” explained a senior government official. American in a phone call with journalists.

18 months

So far, the United States has only shared its technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines with a single country, the United Kingdom, something it did in 1958, said the aforementioned official, who requested anonymity.

That makes it “historic”, says the source, the fact that both the United States and the United Kingdom have now decided to “add” Australia to that deal, with a commitment to help the Royal Australian Navy acquire nuclear submarines.

In his speech, Biden stressed that the submarines that Australia will get will not have “nuclear weapons”, but will be “conventionally armed”, but “powered by nuclear reactors.” “It is a proven technology, and it is safe,” the US president has guaranteed.

The three countries have set a deadline of 18 months, until the first quarter of 2023, to find the “optimal path” to develop Australian submarines “at the earliest possible date”, pooling the knowledge of both the United States and the United Kingdom. United, indicates a statement from the three heads of government.

“Australia is not trying to get nuclear weapons or to establish a civil nuclear capability,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised in his virtual speech at the event chaired by Biden.

Consequences for France

The pact with Washington and London could result in the cancellation of another agreement that Australia had already reached with France for the construction of 12 submarines, according to the Australian newspaper. Sydney Morning Herald.

Neither Morrison nor the White House have confirmed the possible suspension of that pact between Canberra and Paris, valued at 50,000 million Australian dollars (35,510 million dollars or 31,355 million euros) and whose execution has been delayed due to certain requirements of the country oceanic.

The British prime minister, for his part, has highlighted the ambition of the project, and considers it a “reflection of the depth of friendship” between the three nations. “This will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world. It will last decades and will require the most advanced technology,” said Boris Johnson regarding the nuclear submarine project for Australia.

In the longer term, the three Anglo-Saxon countries are committed to strengthening their cooperation in “cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional underwater capabilities,” according to the joint statement.

The announcement comes a week before Biden will host a summit with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan on September 24, with whom he maintains an alliance to counter the power of China.

The four countries make up the ‘quad’, an alliance created in 2007 in response to Beijing’s military boom.

Biden will receive in person at the White House the Prime Ministers of Australia, Scott Morrison; from India, Narendra Modi; and from Japan, Yoshihide Suga.


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