President Biden on Wednesday announced a historic security partnership between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia that will allow the three countries to share defense technologies, including plans for nuclear submarines.
The trilateral security pact, known as AUKUS, will provide the three countries with technical, strategic and naval resources. It will include the sharing of artificial intelligence, underwater systems, cybernetic and long-range strike capabilities,
“Our countries will update and improve our common ability to deal with 21st century threats as we did in the 20th century – together,” Biden said at a White House event.
The alliance strengthens the presence of the three countries in the Pacific, where the three nations are concerned about China’s expansion ambitions.
China is said to have six nuclear attack submarines and plans to expand its nuclear-powered naval fleet in the coming years. Beijing also has dozens of conventional submarines, which are powered by nuclear reactors.
In recent days, Beijing has sailed warships near Japanese and US waters in an attempt to assert its dominance.
“We must be able to deal with both the current strategic environment in the region and its potential evolution, because the future of each of our nations, and indeed of the world, depends on an Indo-Pacific. free and open, sustainable and flourishing for decades to come, ”Biden said.
Under the deal, Australia will abandon its $ 90 billion submarine contract with France and, instead, buy a US-made nuclear submarine, Australian newspapers reported on Wednesday. The deal had been in trouble for some time, plagued by rising costs, design changes and delays, according to Australian media.
“To help provide the stability and security our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in virtual remarks released by the White House.
Australia and the United States have long been allies, but this pact elevates it to the level of the United Kingdom as one of America’s major military partners.
For the United States, the deal gives them a powerful weapon in the Pacific in an attempt to contain Chinese military expansion. The Navy deployed its three most powerful submarines to the Pacific this summer amid concerns about the Chinese.
However, there is nothing in the pact that specifically mentions China, and none of the three leaders mentioned Beijing in the remarks.
A White House official told reporters the alliance was not targeting any particular country, but rather a “capacity upgrade.”
The US and UK have shared US nuclear submarine technology for decades as part of a deal to control the former Soviet Union. With Australia in the mix, the three countries have strengthened their ability to operate in the Pacific, creating a powerful alliance.
U.S. officials have long sought to forge partnerships with other countries to push back China. One group, known as the Quad, is made up of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India. It aims to stop the Chinese aggression.
The four Quad Nations will meet at the White House on September 24, for the group’s first-ever in-person meeting.