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US, UK and Australia move ahead with Indo-Pacific pact – DW – March 13, 2023

US, UK and Australia move ahead with Indo-Pacific pact – DW – March 13, 2023

US supplies submarines to Australia

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President of the United States Joe Biden AUKUS discussed next steps for Indo-Pacific joint action with its two partners in the 2021 Defense Alliance. In San Diego, California, Biden met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “The America “I couldn’t imagine two better friends or partners,” Biden said. Together we will create a safe and peaceful future.

It was “the largest single investment in history Australiavin’s defensive ability,” Albanese said British Prime Minister Sunak spoke of a “powerful partnership” and emphasized: “For the first time, three submarines in both the Atlantic and Pacific will work together to keep our oceans free, open and prosperous for decades to come.”

Taking their submarine alliance forward: Anthony Albanese (Australia), Joe Biden (USA), Rishi Sunak (England)Photo: Stephen Rousseau/AP/Image Alliance

The three leaders said in a joint statement before the meeting: “We believe in a world that protects freedom and respects human rights, the rule of law, the independence of sovereign states and a rules-based international order.”

Major projects and submarine contracts

For the first time since then Birth of Alliance 2021 Concrete steps announced: From 2027, US and British submarines will be stationed in Australia on a regular basis. The projected fleet size is four submarines from the United States and one from Great Britain.

After a training phase, Australia will initially buy three new submarines from the US in the 2030s, with two more agreed as an option. The Arms Treaty was to be officially sealed in San Diego. Procurement was already clear from 2021 – Much to the chagrin of France, which had long been in talks with Canberra about a billion-dollar submarine delivery. The ships are of the Virginia class which is nuclear powered – but not to be confused with weapons. “These boats will not carry any type of nuclear weapons,” Biden clarified.

Small nuclear reactors are widely used to power submarines – they allow longer dives than diesel engines.Image: Office of Naval Information/AP/dpa/Image Alliance

In the 2040s, a new class of submarines will be launched: they will be designed mostly by Great Britain and built in Australia. A significant portion of American Virginia-class technology will also be used.

Until now, Australia used much smaller Collins-class submarines.

AUKUS is the answer to China’s rearmament

The name AUKUS is made up of the country abbreviations of the countries involved. America’s strong focus on the Indo-Pacific region has been a major geopolitical theme of Biden’s presidency. Ahead of the meeting in San Diego, National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said the alliance does not send a message to any particular country, but “will help us play a vital stabilizing role and maintain peace and stability in this vibrant region of the world.”

Even without specific reference ChinaHowever, many experts are adamant that the alliance should be seen primarily as a response to Beijing’s growing military influence: Over the years, China has increasingly aggressively staked claims to areas claimed by US allies in the South China Sea. But also in other Pacific regions like Solomon Islands, China expands its influence – to the dismay of the US. for that Conclusion of the People’s Congress in China Communist Party representatives agreed to a 7.2 percent increase in defense spending.

China has previously objected that AUKUS violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: the transfer of nuclear material to a non-nuclear power is a “flagrant” violation of the treaty’s spirit. Australia contradicted this account, arguing that the submarines were not nuclear-armed, but only manned.

Xi Jinping wants to strengthen China’s military

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ehl/ack (dpa, rtr, ap)