The U.S., Britain and Australia have announced they’re forming a new security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines
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Published: 2021-09-16 05:48 am
Nuclear submarine deal will reshape Indo-Pacific relations
abcnews.go.com

The U.S., Britain and Australia have announced they’re forming a new security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines

THE UNITED STATES

BRITAIN

AUSTRALIA

Under the arrangement, Australia will build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines using U.S. expertise, while dumping a contract with France for diesel-electric subs. Experts say the nuclear subs will allow Australia to conduct longer patrols and give the alliance a stronger military presence in the region.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had called the leaders of Japan and India to explain the new alliance. Japan, India, Australia and the U.S. already have a strategic dialogue known as “the Quad.” Biden is set to host fellow Quad leaders at the White House next week.

CHINA

China said the alliance would severely damage regional peace and stability, and jeopardize efforts to halt nuclear weapon proliferation. It said it was “highly irresponsible” for the U.S. and Britain to export the nuclear technology, and that Australia was to blame for a breakdown in bilateral relations.

“The most urgent task is for Australia to correctly recognize the reasons for the setbacks in the relations between the two countries, and think carefully whether to treat China as a partner or a threat," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Beijing has been unhappy with the Biden administration calling it out over human rights abuses in the Xianjing region, the crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, and cybersecurity breaches. Biden spoke by phone with China’s President Xi Jinping last week. After the call, the official Xinhua News Agency reported that Xi expressed concerns that U.S. government policy toward China has caused “serious difficulties” in relations.

FRANCE

Australia told France it would end its contract with state majority-owned DCNS to build 12 of the world’s largest conventional submarines. The contract was worth tens of billions of dollars. France is furious, demanding explanations from all sides.

“It was really a stab in the back. We built a relationship of trust with Australia, and this trust was betrayed,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on France-Info radio.

NEW ZEALAND

Left out of the new alliance is Australia's neighbor New Zealand. It has a longstanding nuclear-free policy that includes a ban on nuclear-powered ships entering its ports. That stance has sometimes been a sticking point in otherwise close relations with the U.S. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand wasn’t asked to be part of the alliance and wouldn’t have expected an invitation. Still, it leaves New Zealand out of a deal to share a range of information including artificial intelligence, cyber and underwater defense capabilities.

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