Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced on Wednesday a new security pact to protect and defend shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
Although none of the three governments mentioned China, the new association, dubbed AUKUS, is widely understood as an attempt to counter Beijing’s assertiveness in the region.
The pact will allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines and will see the country scrap its Strike-Class Submarine Program with France in favor of a deal with the United Kingdom. Paris has reacted angrily.
AUKUS also plans deeper diplomatic, security and defense cooperation between the three capitals with enhanced capabilities and interoperability in cyber, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies.
‘Peace and stability’
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden said in a statement that their partnership is “guided by our enduring ideals and shared commitment to the rules-based international order.”
Biden said during a joint press conference that the three leaders “all recognize the imperative of ensuring long-term peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”
“We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it can evolve,” he continued.
For Canberra the agreement is “critical for Australia to become a more capable power in the 21st century.”
He added that he intends to build the eight nuclear-powered submarines planned by the association in Adelaide.
“Nuclear-powered submarines have superior characteristics of stealth, speed, maneuverability, survivability and almost unlimited endurance, compared to conventional submarines,” Canberra argued.
The capabilities allow nuclear powered submarines to operate in disputed areas with a lower risk of detection, “he added.
Morrison also emphasized that “Australia does not seek to acquire nuclear weapons.”
‘Lack of coherence’
Biden said AUKUS “reflects a broader trend of key European countries playing an extremely important role in the Indo-Pacific” and singled out France for its “substantial Indo-Pacific presence” and as a “key partner and ally. in strengthening security “. and prosperity of the region. “
“The United States looks forward to working closely with France and other key countries as we move forward,” he also said.
But Paris has criticized AUKUS, saying that “the US choice to exclude a European ally and partner from a structuring partnership with Australia, at a time when we face unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, already whether in terms of our values or in terms of respect for multilateralism based on the rule of law, it shows a lack of coherence that France can only note with regret. “
the Declaration of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense of France. He also said Canberra’s decision to renounce its nuclear-powered submarine deal with Paris “is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust, as well as the development of a very high-level defense industrial and technological base in Australia ”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism