Millionaire purchase of submarines from Australia to the United States | news today
Joe Biden aboard US Air Force One en route to San Diego, California to meet with Australian and UK Prime Ministers Anthony Albanese and Rishi Sunak.
Photo: EFE – CHRIS KLEPONIS
Australia will buy three nuclear-powered submarines and possibly two more from the United States and build a new model using American and British technology as part of an ambitious plan to strengthen the West in the Asia-Pacific region, a US official said on Monday.
President Joe Biden hosted the Prime Ministers of Australia and the United Kingdom, Anthony Albanese and Rishi Sunak, at a naval base in San Diego, California, to announce the project.
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This is “the largest single investment in Australia’s defense capability in our entire history,” Albanese said.
Known by its English acronym AUKUS, this partnership of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States will allow Canberra to replace its submarine fleet with a nuclear-powered one, which will add substantial force to the Western alliance that seeks to counter China’s military expansion.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters traveling to California on Air Force One that the plan illustrates Washington’s long-term commitment to protecting “peace and stability” in the region. Pacific Asia.
The partnership with Australia, which involves sharing secret nuclear technology previously only given to Britain, is “a commitment of decades, maybe a century,” Sullivan said.
Canberra will buy the nuclear-powered and conventionally armed Virginia-class submarines “over the course of the 2030s,” with the “possibility of going up to five if necessary,” Sullivan said.
The new model, also nuclear-powered and with conventional weapons, is a longer-term project and will be called SSN-AUKUS, he added, detailing that it will be built on the basis of a British design, with American technology and “significant investment in the three industrial bases.
Earlier, Australia had been on course to replace its aging fleet of diesel-powered submarines with a $66 billion package of conventional French vessels.
Canberra’s abrupt announcement of abandoning that agreement and entering the AUKUS project sparked a brief but unusually bitter dispute between the three countries and France, a close ally.
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– Countering China –
While Australia has ruled out the deployment of atomic weapons, the submarine project marks a significant new stage in the US-led attempt to counter Beijing’s growing military might.
Faced with China’s challenge – which includes building a sophisticated naval fleet and turning artificial islands into offshore bases – and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain is also seeking to bolster its military capacity, Sunak’s office said on Monday.
More than $6 billion of additional funding over the next two years will “replenish and bolster vital munitions stocks, modernize the UK’s nuclear company and fund the next phase of the AUKUS submarine programme,” Downing Street said.
China warned that AUKUS threatened to spark an arms race and accused the three countries of delaying nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
“We urge the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum games, meet international obligations in good faith and do more that leads to regional peace and stability,” he told journalists in Beijing the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mao Ning.
The communist country’s leader, Xi Jinping, made a harsh statement last week accusing the United States of leading a Western effort to “contain, encircle and suppress China.”
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But Washington claims that Beijing is causing alarm among countries in the Asia-Pacific region with its threats to invade the autonomous democracy of Taiwan, while also highlighting the threat from North Korea and its nuclear weapons.
“What we have seen is a series of provocative measures that China has undertaken under the leadership of Xi Jinping over the past five to 10 years,” Sullivan said. “This is an attempt to defend and secure the Indo-Pacific operating system.”
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