Aukus provides Australia with the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines
Creator: LAC Amanda McErlich | Credit: U.S. Navy
On 15 September, the US and UK signed a security deal with Australia, known as Aukus. It will provide Australia with the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines. The move was widely regarded as a contest to China’s influence in the South China Sea.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear that it was “not intended to be adversarial” towards China. However, commentators have labelled the potential diplomatic fallout to the new “Cold War” as China’s dominance in the area continues to grow.
Indeed, France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called the move a “stab in the back”. As France had already negotiated a billion-dollar submarine deal with Australia.
The UK, Australia and the USA are forming a new trilateral defence partnership that will preserve security and stability around the world.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 16, 2021
China regarded the move as a Western threat to its growing power after Biden failed to inform Premier Xi Jinping about the agreement in a meeting last week.
Dali Yang, a Chinese foreign policy expert at the University of Chicago, said, “In the last couple of years, a lot of efforts by the Chinese diplomatic community have been to trying to prevent something like this from happening. Although in the meantime, Beijing has also been trying to solidify its ties with other countries, in a hope that they could remain as neutral as possible when it comes to agreements as such.”