US, UK to Aid Australia on Acquiring Nuclear Submarine Technology
The United States and the United Kingdom agreed to help Australia on acquiring nuclear capabilities to enhance Indo-Pacific stability. The agreement was met with pushback from France.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia formed Thursday a military alliance to boost nuclear capabilities and "strengthen stability in the Indo-Pacific region" as the West grows warier of China, although they did not mention that in their announcement.
The military alliance will be known as AUKUS, and it was announced during a trilateral virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
As part of the alliance, the United States and the United Kingdom will help Australia enhance its nuclear capabilities through sharing advanced technologies, which will aid Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. The alliance will also see the three nations sharing their know-how on AI, cyber, and quantum technologies, in addition to underwater and long-range missile capabilities, as per a senior Biden administration official.
Officials noted that the submarines would not be nuclear-armed, they will only be nuclear powered - something that toppled a $36.5 billion deal backed personally by French President Emmanuel Macron with Australia on conventional submarines. This led to French pushback of the deal.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement earlier saying the decision to go with US submarines was "contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia."
The three states are also members of the 1948 Five Eyes alliance comprising Canada and New Zealand, under which they share key intelligence in multiple areas.
"We'll all undertake this effort in a way that reflects the longstanding leadership in global nonproliferation and rigorous verification standards, in partnership and consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency," said Joe Biden.
Australian PM: Our world is becoming more complex
Biden cited the reasons for the tripartite security effort; however, China was not on the list. "This is about investing in our greatest source of strength, our alliances, and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow."
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, "Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures," stressing the necessity of the alliance.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about the significance of the Australian decision to acquire nuclear capabilities, as well as the significance of allies or rather "any other state" to come to its aid in this regard.
The Democrat president's effort comes as part of his electoral promises to open up to the world again after the United States was secluded during the Trump administration.