Australia, the UK and US have formed a new security partnership in an effort to better counter China.
Dubbed AUKUS, the partnership between the three countries is aimed at improving cyber capabilities, AI, quantum technologies and other undersea capabilities. The US and UK are interested in helping the Royal Australian Navy acquire nuclear-powered submarines. The arrangement does not mean Australia will become a full-fledged nuclear power, as Australia reaffirmed its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and not pursuing nuclear weapons.
Despite the limited scope of the arrangement, a senior US administration official highlighted the advantages of nuclear-powered submarines:
I do want to underscore that this will give Australia the capability for their submarines to basically — to deploy for longer periods. They’re quieter. They’re much more capable. They will allow us to sustain and to improve deterrence across the Indo-Pacific.
The official also highlighted the significance of sharing such technology with Australia, technology the US has only previously shared with the UK.
I just want to underscore that this is a fundamental decision — fundamental — that binds decisively Australia to the United States and Great Britain for generations.
While China was not specifically mentioned in the briefing, sources told Politico the agreement was, at least in part, to counter China’s growing military power.