From our correspondent
NEW YORK – The United States, Great Britain, and Australia yesterday revealed details of plans to build a fleet of next-generation nuclear-powered submarines. It is the culmination of a year and a half of negotiations, under the “Aukus” security agreement (the initials of the three countries). Australia will receive three submarines from the United States, with an option to purchase two moreAt a cost of $3 billion each.
The first is expected to be delivered in 2032. The allies have also pledged to work together on developing technologies, such as using reactors built in the UK by Rolls-Royce. Australia will also buy a British-designed submarine called the SSN-Aukuswhich largely uses American technology.
Canberra will be able to build its submarines around 2040.
The agreement aims to counter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Speaking with the leaders of the other three countries, Rishi Sunak and Anthony Albanese, yesterday in San Diego, against the backdrop of submarines and destroyers, Biden described the deal as the centerpiece of Indo-Pacific security.
The only other country with which the United States has shared its submarines was the United Kingdom, 65 years ago.
China responded harshly. Mao Ning, spokesman for the Beijing Foreign Ministry, said so The Oukos agreement threatens to create an arms race and undermine peace and stability in the region. “We call on the United States, Britain and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality,” he added.
The US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, also responded to Western concerns, stating that Washington does not intend to create a NATO-style alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. But the three-nation group sparked outrage in France in 2021, over the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal that required Australia to buy submarines from Paris.
China remains Australia’s most important trading partner, and it remains to be seen how Canberra manages economic ties while strengthening its military ties with the US. Sullivan said that Biden, for his part, is trying to make a phone call with Xi Jinping in order to ease tensions. But there is no exact date yet.
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