The three countries unveil a new security partnership called AUKUS in an obvious push against China.
Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have announced a new trilateral security partnership, including a joint effort to help the Australian military acquire nuclear power plants, in clear pressure to counter China.
The leaders of all three countries unveiled the alliance, called AUKUS, on Wednesday, stressing that the submarines would be nuclear-powered and not carry nuclear weapons.
Australia has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Joined virtually by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson, USA President Joe Biden said the three nations took a “historic step” to deepen their cooperation.
“We all realize the need for long-term peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” said Biden of the White House.
“We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment of the region and how it can be developed as the future of each of our nations – and indeed the world – depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific that continues to flourish for decades. a head.”
The three leaders did not explicitly mention China in their comments on Wednesday.
Shortly after the announcement, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, said the three countries should “shake off their cold mentality and ideological prejudices,” the Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported.
The spokesman condemned what he called “exclusion blocs” that targeted the interests of other countries.
Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister, said the recently announced partnership would “deliver a safer and more secure region” that ultimately benefits everyone.
“Let me be clear: Australia is not trying to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civilian nuclear capability,” he added. “And we will continue to fulfill all our obligations for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
Morrison also said that Australia intends to build submarines in Adelaide, on the south coast of the country, in cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States.
The announcement comes amid growing competition between Beijing and Washington and its Indo-Pacific allies.
Johnson said the co-operation to produce nuclear power plants for Australia would be one of the “most complex and technologically demanding projects in the world”.
“Australia is one of our oldest friends, a relative and a co-democracy and a natural partner in this business,” Johnson said.
An unidentified US official told reporters on Wednesday that AUKUS “is not targeting any country”.
“This is a major effort to maintain the structure of engagement and deterrence in the Indo-Pacific,” the official said.
A joint statement from the three nations said the United States and Britain would use their expertise to produce the submarines for Australia as early as possible.
“We will promote deeper information and technology sharing,” said the statement. “We will promote a deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains. And in particular, we will deepen cooperation significantly on a range of security and defense capabilities. ”