President Biden on Wednesday announced a historic security partnership between the United States, Britain and Australia that will allow the three nations to share defense technologies, including plans for nuclear submarines.
The trilateral security pact, known as AUKUS, will enable the technical, strategic and maritime resources of the three countries. It will include the sharing of artificial intelligence, submarine systems, cyber and long-range strike capabilities,
“Our nations will update and improve our common ability to take on the threats of the 21st century, just as we did in the 20th century – together,” Biden said at an event in the White House.
The alliance strengthens the presence of all three countries in the Pacific, where all three nations are concerned about China’s expansion ambitions.
China is said to possess six nuclear submarines and plans to expand its nuclear-powered fleet over the next many years. Beijing also has dozens of conventional submarines powered by nuclear reactors.
In recent days, Beijing has sailed naval ships near Japanese and American waters in an attempt to assert its dominance.
“We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it can evolve, because the future of each of our nations, and indeed the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific that lasts and flourishes for decades to come, ”Biden said.
Under the deal, Australia will abandon its $ 90 billion submarine deal with France and instead acquire a US-made nuclear submarine, Australian newspapers said on Wednesday. The deal had been in trouble for a while, plagued by rising costs, design changes and delays, according to Australian media.
“To help deliver the stability and security our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in virtual remarks issued by the White House.
Australia and the United States have long been allies, but this pact raises it to the level of Britain as one of America’s foremost military partners.
For the United States, the agreement provides a powerful weapon in the Pacific to try to curb Chinese military expansion. This summer, the Navy deployed its three most powerful submarines to the Pacific among concerns about the Chinese.
However, there is nothing in the pact that specifically mentions China, and none of the three leaders mentioned Beijing in the comments.
A White House official told reporters that the alliance was not aimed at a specific country, but rather at “upgrading opportunities”.
The United States and Britain have been sharing American nuclear submarine technology for decades under an agreement aimed at keeping the old Soviet Union in check. With Australia in the mix, all three countries have strengthened their ability to operate in the Pacific and created a strong alliance.
U.S. officials have long sought to build partnerships with other nations to push back toward China. One group, known as the Quad, consists of the United States, Japan, Australia and India. It aims to stop Chinese aggression.
All four Quad nations will meet in the White House on September 24 for the group’s first personal meeting ever.
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