The UK, US and Australia have announced a historic security pact in the Asia-Pacific, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. It will let Australia build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the US.
The Aukus pact, which will also cover AI and other technologies, is one of the countries’ biggest defence partnerships in decades.
- China’s embassy in Washington accused the countries of a “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice”. The pact also created a row with France, which has now lost a deal with Australia to build 12 submarines.
- The Aukus alliance is probably the most significant security arrangement between the three nations since World War Two, analysts say.
- The pact will focus on military capability, separating it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance which also includes New Zealand and Canada.
- While Australia’s submarines are the big-ticket item, Aukus will also involve the sharing of cyber capabilities and other undersea technologies.
- Western nations have been wary of China’s infrastructure investment on Pacific islands, and have also criticised China’s trade sanctions against countries like Australia.
- Australia had in the past maintained good relations with China, its biggest trading partner. But the relationship has broken down in recent years amid political tensions.
- The US is sharing its submarine technology for the first time in 50 years. It had previously only shared technology with the UK.
- Australia will become just the seventh nation in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines, after the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia.
SOURCE: BBC News, The Hindu