A senior White House official said earlier that the US government had previously agreed to share this “top secret” technology – and that was the case with Great Britain nearly 70 years ago. This initiative comes within the framework of a new “security partnership” between the three countries for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. It should be called “AUKUS” based on the English abbreviations of the participating countries. The US government and Australia are concerned about China’s growing claim to power in the Indo-Pacific.
Biden, Morrison and Johnson introduced the initiative on Wednesday via a joint video link — but they didn’t mention China itself. “The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have always been loyal and capable partners,” Biden said. “Today we are much closer than that.” The initiative is a “historic step”. However, he emphasized that this was not about the nuclear-armed submarines of Australia. “These are conventional nuclear-powered submarines,” Biden said.
“We have to be able to deal with both the current strategic environment in the region and its potential developments,” Biden said. An open and free Indo-Pacific is critical for the future and must continue. It is now a matter of connecting US allies in new ways and enhancing the ability to work together. The “threats of today and tomorrow” must be confronted. Australian Prime Minister Morrison announced that submarines should be built in Adelaide. “For more than a century, we have stood together for the path of peace and freedom,” he said.
British Prime Minister Johnson has confirmed that it is one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, which will span decades and require the latest technology. The initiative demonstrates the depth of friendship and the greatness of trust between the three countries. “Only a few countries have nuclear-powered submarines, which is a critical decision for any country to acquire such a formidable skill,” Johnson said.
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The White House had previously said that nuclear reactor-powered submarines would enable Australia to operate submarines continuously for longer, are quieter and have more capabilities than those of a conventional design.
In 2016, Australia signed a multi-billion dollar contract with France to build 12 new submarines. The French offer, according to which submarines must be delivered from 2030, prevailed against one of the German competitors ThyssenKrupp. The deal should now give way to the new initiative. Morrison said he had already informed French defense company Naval Group and President Emmanuel Macron of the decision.
“I want to stress that France remains a very important partner in the Pacific,” he said. “But as Prime Minister, I must make decisions that benefit Australia’s national security, and I know France will do the same. And I know that will eventually be understood.” The Shortfin Barracuda submarine fleet to be built in Australia was the largest military acquisition in the country’s history.
Unlike Great Britain, Australia is not a member of the Western Defense NATO, but is considered a close partner of the organization. Australia participated in NATO military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to bilateral relations, the United States of America and Australia are also associated with the so-called “Five Eyes” partnership of secret services. The alliance includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain and the United States of America.
Biden also relies on an alliance called the “Quad” for security and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. The Quartet includes Australia, India, Japan and the United States. Biden wants to receive coalition leaders at the White House next week. On Thursday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also wanted to exchange ideas with their Australian colleagues at a joint meeting.
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