Australia to have nuclear submarines as US and UK sign anti-China treaty

14:07, 16 September 2021
Australia to have nuclear submarines as US and UK sign anti-China treaty

The so-called Aukus pact aims at securing positions in Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

The United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia have signed a security pact concerning the Asia&Pacific region, presumably to oppose China’s dominance.

According to the agreement, Australia will be able to build its first nuclear-powered submarines based on the technologies of the US. Thus Australia will become the second country in the world following Britain to get access to the American nuclear-powered submarines technologies.

"This is a historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region," the joint statement read.

Besides, the treaty, already dubbed one of the largest partnerships in decades and even “the deal of the century”, will also focus on IT and artificial intelligence, including cyber development and undersea programs.

The announcement was made on Wednesday during an online conference with US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian PM Scott Morrison.

"Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific. To meet these challenges, to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level," the Australian leader said.

Johnson stated that the pact would "preserve security and stability around the world" and create "hundreds of high-skilled jobs".

China was not directly mentioned in the talks but apparently is the main reason for security concerns. The PRC’s government has already criticized the pact and called it irresponsible.

"It seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement.

Chinese ambassador to the US has added that the Aukus signers "should not build exclusionary blocs targeting or harming the interests of third parties".

China was not the only country to denounce the pact. France which had an agreement with Australia on building 12 submarines has expressed discontent with the “deal of the century”, dubbing it a backstab.

“We established a relationship based on confidence with Australia, and now this confidence has been betrayed. Today I’m in anger. That is not how allies do,” French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian said in an interview.

The Minister has equally denounced the US behavior that beguiled the country into joining the pact.

“This unilateral, brutal, and unforeseeable decision resembles a lot what Mr. Trump did.”

French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly has supported her colleague and said that it was now clear how the US treats their allies.

“That is very important in the matter of geopolitics and international politics.”

The 12 submarines deal was supposed to bring €31bn ($36,5 bn) to France.

New nuclear-powered submarines are expected to be faster and harder to detect than ordinary ones. Besides, they can stay underwater for a longer time and have a better shooting distance.

Still, Australia assured that it had no intention to develop nuclear weapons. It will become the seventh country in the world to possess nuclear-powered submarines, after the US, UK, France, China, India, and Russia.