Considering the growing influence China In the Indo-Pacific region, The United States With announced the new alliance on Wednesday (15) Australia e United Kingdom To strengthen naval capabilities in the region with the new Australian Navy of nuclear-powered submarines.
The announcement was made via video conference with the president Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are sure to annoy France as they negotiate the sale of a billion-dollar traditional submarines to Australia.
The naval team, a French-based defense firm, expressed “deep disappointment” at the news of the move, which appeared to ignore the French-Australian agreement.
Biden said efforts to allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines would ensure that they have “the modern capabilities needed to maneuver and defend against rapidly growing threats.”
The three leaders stressed that submarines would not have nuclear weapons and would only be powered by nuclear reactors.
Although Biden, Morrison and Johnson did not mention China when launching the new alliance called AUKUS, their purpose was clear.
“Our world is becoming more complex, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, which affects all of us,” Morrison said.
Johnson said they would “work with each other to maintain stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The technical and naval representatives of the three countries will decide how to modernize Australia’s capabilities over the next 18 months, “one of the most complex and technologically demanding projects in the world, and will last for decades,” Johnson said.
In addition to submarines, a senior Biden government official said, “AUKUS will combine cybernetics, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and some overseas capabilities.”
Government official Biden reiterated how unique this decision was, since the United Kingdom was the only country that helped the United States build a nuclear-powered navy.
“This technology is very sensitive,” the official said. “We see this as something unique.”
Secrecy and dynamics
As China builds its own navy and builds decades of US military dominance in Asia, the US official said the formation of the AUKUS “is destined to send a peaceful and firm message to maintain a strong deterrent position”.
The new submarines will allow Australia to “play at the highest level”, even without carrying nuclear weapons, he said.
“Nuclear-powered submarines retain the superior properties of secrecy, speed, maneuverability, survival and indeed considerable endurance,” the official said.
“You are going to see a very deep platform in our navies and in our nuclear infrastructure,” the official said.
He added that “this is a fundamental decision” that will connect the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom for decades. “This is the biggest strategic move Australia has taken in generations.”
The French deal is in jeopardy
Biden called France a “key partner and ally” in the Indo-Pacific region in an effort to pacify Paris.
But the regular submarine deal with France is worth about $ 50 billion ($ 36.5 billion), which was personally backed by President Emmanuel Macron.
The Navy Group agreed to build 12 conventional assault class submarines, but the order was delayed for several years, exceeding the budget and entangled in domestic Australian politics.
In June, Macron pledged a “complete and complete” commitment to the deal. But a senior Australian defense official said Australia was considering alternatives at almost the same time.
Australian officials later said the possible project was B-classified information, but the topic has been much talked about in recent months and includes submarines and other vessels.
The AUKUS announcement comes as Australia raises defense spending in response to China’s firm stance.
Morrison will meet again on September 24 at the first White House meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which unites the United States, Japan, India and Australia.
The group is seen as a counterpoint to China’s growing economic and military influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
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