Defence pact to counter China
September 17, 2021 - The U.S., UK, and Australia have launched AUKUS – a new Indo-Pacific defence alliance to counter China’s influence. The pact will enable Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines.
U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the pact on Thursday (September 16), which will see Australia’s first-ever fleet of at least eight nuclear submarines.
The partnership ends Australia’s $40 billion deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build a new submarine fleet to replace its ageing Collins submarines, a spokesperson for Morrison told Reuters.
A U.S. official said the partnership resulted from months of engagements by military and political leaders during which Britain -- which recently sent HMS Queen Elizabeth, the flagship of the UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG), to Asia -- had indicated it wanted to do more in the region.
New Zealand was not included in the pact and only learnt of the agreement when press reports began emerging. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded by saying that Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will not be allowed in its territorial waters.