AUKUS
Trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States
AbbreviationAUKUS
Formation15 September 2021; 2 years ago (2021-09-15)
TypeMilitary technology partnership
PurposeCollective security
Region
Indo-Pacific
Membership

AUKUS (/ˈɔːkəs/ AW-kəs), also styled as Aukus, is a trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific region between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Announced on 15 September 2021,[1][2] the partnership involves the US and the UK assisting Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.[3] The partnership also includes cooperation on advanced cyber mechanisms, artificial intelligence and autonomy, quantum technologies, undersea capabilities, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic, electronic warfare, innovation and information sharing.[3][4] The partnership will focus on military capability, distinguishing it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes New Zealand and Canada.[5]

The International Centre for Defence and Security called the partnership "a powerful statement about the priority of the Indo-Pacific" and as a statement "that the larger institutional groupings aren't acting with the common purpose and speed that the current strategic and technological environment demands".[6] The US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy called the partnership a "greater and deeper partnership" between the countries and said that it would provide a "lot of deterrence" in the Indo-Pacific.[7] The government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) was vocal in its contempt of the partnership, accusing the three western countries of having a "cold-war mentality",[8] as the partnership was widely seen as being, at least in part, a response to China's status as an increasingly assertive emerging superpower.[9]

The creation of the partnership spelled the end of a French–Australian submarine deal. On 17 September 2021, France recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the US; French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the partnership a "stab in the back"[10] following Australia's cancellation of the deal worth €56 billion (A$90 billion) without notice,[11][12][13] ending recent efforts to develop a deeper strategic partnership between France and Australia.[14][15][16] Following the ousting of Scott Morrison's government after the 2022 Australian federal election, the new Labor government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese agreed to a €555 million (US$584 million) settlement with French defence contractor Naval Group. In response, French defence minister Lecornu said that France aims to rebuild its relationship with Australia. In addition, Albanese announced plans to travel to France to reset bilateral relations between the two countries.[17][18]

Background

Naval Group–Australia strategic partnership agreement

Further information: Attack-class submarine

In 2009, two years after the start of the project to replace the Royal Australian Navy's conventionally-powered Collins-class submarines, the Australian Defence White Paper stated: "The Government has ruled out nuclear propulsion for these submarines".[19]

In 2016, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull signed a A$50 billion (€31 billion) deal with the majority French government-owned company Naval Group (known as DCNS until 2017) to design a new generation of submarines, known as the Attack class, under the "Future Submarine Program", scheduled to replace the Collins class.[20][21][note 1] The design was based on the latest French nuclear-powered attack submarine, the Barracuda class, which required converting the nuclear propulsion to conventional propulsion. Another difference was that Australia chose to equip it with a United States Navy combat system and torpedo with Lockheed Martin Australia selected to integrate them into the design.[25][26][27] Australia typically requires that part of their vessels be built there, which increases the cost. In this case it corresponded to 60 per cent of the contract value, with France handling the technology transfer.[28]

In 2019, Australia signed a strategic partnership agreement with Naval Group to design and construct twelve submarines to be built in Australia.[29][30] However, the project was beset by delays and cost overruns, leading to uncertainty and tension behind the scenes.[13][31] The revised cost, including inflation during the length of the program, was A$90 billion (€56 billion).[32]

In February 2021, an initial design plan was rejected as being too expensive, and Naval Group were given until September to improve their proposal.[33] At a Senate inquiry in early June 2021, with delays ongoing, Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty revealed under questioning that he had considered making contingency plans if the French project was to fail, admitting that there had been ongoing problems[vague] for over a year.[34] Two weeks later, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison met French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris and expressed concern about the project going off track, to which Macron replied that France was giving "full and complete" commitment and would proceed "further and faster if possible".[33]

On 30 August 2021, the French and Australian defence and foreign affairs ministers released a joint statement reaffirming the project, stating that the "Ministers underlined the importance of the Future Submarine program."[14][35][36]

Less than three weeks later, Australia decided to publicly cancel the contract with Naval Group for the Attack-class submarines[20] despite having already spent about A$2.4 billion on the French project.[37] It was expected that Australia would have to pay hundreds of millions of euros in penalties for cancelling the contract.[38] The contract contained "control gates" with "off-ramps" at which point Australia could withdraw from the contract.[39][40]

The Australian Department of Defence wrote to Naval Group on the same day the security pact was announced.[35][41] The French Ministry of Defence claim the department told them that "they were satisfied with the submarine's achievable performance and with the progress of the program."[35] Naval Group said that Australia "terminated the contract for convenience".[42]

Morrison said that Australia now required a nuclear-powered submarine which has the advantages of greater speed, remaining underwater for longer and carrying heavier loads than a conventionally powered submarine, based on a change in the strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific.[10][3][43]

Australia–UK–US negotiations

The Sunday Telegraph reported that in March 2021 the Australian navy chief Vice Admiral Michael Noonan met in London with his British counterpart Admiral Tony Radakin and requested assistance from the UK and the US in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.[44] The Daily Telegraph reported that British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab "helped broker the deal".[45] The New York Times too reported that Australia first approached the UK for assistance.[46] The Wall Street Journal reported Australia approached the US in April 2021.[47] A trilateral discussion was held between Johnson, Biden and Morrison at the June 2021 G7 summit held in Cornwall, England.[43][48] The talks took place without the knowledge of the French government or Naval Group.[45] This approach was possible as a result of the UK not entering into a formal foreign policy and security treaty in the post-Brexit deal with the EU. As a result, the UK was free to pursue enhanced cooperation with other allies.[49] Axios reported that the Biden administration sought assurances from Australia that cancelling the contract was not dependent on the US providing them with assistance and that cancelling was a fait accompli.[50] Morrison said Australia had been considering an alternative to the Attack-class submarine deal for the past 18 months.[43][48]

Although the joint announcement by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, British prime minister Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden did not mention any other country by name, except France, anonymous White House sources have alleged it is designed to counter the influence of Chinese forces in the Indo-Pacific region.[51][1] However, Johnson later told parliament that the move was not intended to be adversarial toward China.[52]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Australia did not have any "reciprocal requirements" as a consequence of the US sharing nuclear submarine propulsion technology such as Australia hosting intermediate-range missiles.[53][54]

Features

Tier 1 - Nuclear-powered submarines

Main article: SSN-AUKUS

US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the AUKUS meeting in San Diego, California, on 13 March 2023

Under the partnership, the US and UK will share nuclear propulsion technology with Australia, as they have done with each other since 1958 under the US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement.[40][55][3] The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines armed with conventional weapons.[3] The basic design and key technologies will be decided by the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force an 18-month Department of Defence research project headed by Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, begun in September 2021 with assistance from the US and UK.[3][56]

Australia will extend the life of its Collins-class submarines that the Attack class was due to replace and may consider leasing or buying nuclear-powered submarines from the US or the UK in the interim until the delivery of its future nuclear powered submarines.[3][57][58] Also in the interim, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said that Australia will have regular visits by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines.[59][note 2] The annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) between the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence and the US Secretaries of State and Defense held in September 2021 endorsed "increasing logistics and sustainment capabilities of US surface and subsurface vessels in Australia."[61][62]

Australia considered purchasing French nuclear submarines which use nuclear reactors fuelled by low-enriched uranium at less than 6%.[63][64] However, French reactor designs have to be refuelled every ten years,[63][65] and Australia does not have a civil nuclear capability with nuclear energy prohibited.[66] In contrast, American and British designs power the submarines for the expected life of the submarines[63][67][68] using nuclear reactors fuelled by highly enriched uranium (HEU) at 93% enrichment.[69][70]

Currently, only six countries have nuclear submarines, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) and India.[10] The New York Times reported that Australia will probably buy HEU from the US for the nuclear reactor that powers the submarine.[71][note 3] The United States' naval reactors are all pressurized water reactors (PWR).[73] The latest UK propulsion system is the Rolls-Royce PWR3 that will power the Royal Navy's (RN) new Dreadnought-class submarines currently being built and is "based on a US design but using UK reactor technology".[74][75]

US officials have said that sharing nuclear propulsion technology with Australia is a "one-off" and that they have no "intention of extending this to other countries".[76][77] South Korea, also a US treaty ally, has had ambitions to acquire nuclear-powered submarines since 2017 and was reportedly refused US assistance in September 2020 because of nuclear non-proliferation.[78][79][80]

On 22 November 2021, Australia, the US and the UK signed the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement (ENNPIA) treaty.[81][82] The treaty permits the disclosure of information by the US and the UK to Australia and its use.[82] The US is restricted by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 from sharing information without an agreement and the UK is also restricted by the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement unless authorised.[83][84] The treaty was considered in Australia by the Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, in the UK by the Parliament and in the US by Congress.[85][86][87] The ENNPIA treaty entered into force on 8 February 2022.[4]

One of the first three Royal Australian Navy officers to graduate from the US Navy's Nuclear Power School posing with Australian and American dignitaries in July 2023

On 31 August 2022, the UK announced that Australian submariners would receive training aboard Astute-class submarines.[88]

On 13 March 2023, AUKUS announced that a new nuclear powered submarine class would be built in the UK and Australia to be called the SSN-AUKUS, also known as the SSN-A.[89][90][91] The US intends to sell Australia three nuclear-powered Virginia class submarines, subject to congressional approval, to ensure there is no capability gap as the Collins class submarines are retired, with the potential to sell up to two more if needed.[92][93] RAN personnel will be embedded in the RN and USN to receive nuclear training and at UK and US submarine industrial bases.[91] The Submarine Rotational Force-West initiative which will from as early as 2027 base USN Virginia class and RN Astute class submarines on a rotational basis at the RAN's HMAS Stirling submarine base in order to accelerate Australia's ability to operate nuclear-powered submarines and to contribute to security in the Indo-Pacific region.[94]

The SSN-AUKUS class will based on the UK SSNR design already under development.[95][96] The RN is planned to receive their first SSN-AUKUS class submarine as early as the late 2030s.[97] The RAN is planned to receive their first submarine in the early 2040s.[97] Australia will reportedly build five SSN-AUKUS submarines.[98] The RAN is planned to receive their first Virginia class submarine from the US in the early 2030s.[99]

The Australian Submarine Agency was established on 1 July 2023. It has the role of managing the Australian nuclear submarine program, and includes personnel posted to the UK and US.[100]

In November 2023, Capt. Lincoln Reifsteck USN, the USN's AUKUS integration and acquisition program manager, talked at the Naval Submarine League's annual symposium. He said that, in 2032 and 2035, the USA will sell to Australia in-service Block IV Virginia-class submarines, the first of which was commissioned in 2020, and the final will likely commission around 2026. Thus, Australia would receive submarines with between six and 15 years' worth of use, out of their designed service life of 33 years. He also said that the USA would sell a new Block VII boat to Australia in 2038, the Block VIIs being the original Virginia-class length without the Virginia Payload Module, set to begin construction in FY2029.[101]

Tier 2 - Technology

Computer and cybertechnology

The announcement of AUKUS included the stated aim of improving "joint capabilities and interoperability. These initial efforts will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities."[102] Tom Tugendhat, chair of the British Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee, later commented on Twitter that "Bringing together the military-industrial complex of these three allies together is a step-change in the relationship. We've always been interoperable, but this aims at much more. From artificial intelligence to advanced technology the US, UK and Australia will now be able to cost save by increasing platform sharing and innovation costs. Particularly for the smaller two, that's game-changing."[103] Engineering & Technology pointed to the increasing expansion of Chinese technology firms such as Huawei, which has been excluded from tendering for participation in telecommunications networks by the US and Australia on national security grounds, and government vetoes over the attempted Chinese acquisition of American company Lattice Semiconductor and ongoing British consideration of proposed takeovers of local semiconductor firms.[103] Engineering & Technology also pointed to the March 2021 statement of the US National Security Commission on AI, of the imperative to intensify local efforts but also "rally our closest allies and partners to defend and compete in the coming era of AI-accelerated competition and conflict".[103]

Hypersonic and counter-hypersonic

Under the partnership, the three countries will cooperate to accelerate development of hypersonic missiles and defence against such missiles. Hypersonic and counter-hypersonic cooperation was one of four additional areas of cooperation announced on 5 April 2022.[4][104] Australia and the US have been cooperating on the development of hypersonic missiles since 2020 after signing an agreement to "flight test full-size prototype hypersonic cruise missiles" under the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE).[105][106][107]

Radar capability

The three countries announced the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) programme, which will enable them to constantly track, detect, and identify objects in deep space from up to 22,000 miles away from Earth.[108] Three ground-based radars will be built, with one in each country. The first of which will be in built in Western Australia and is expected to be operational by 2026, with the radars based in the UK and the US aimed to be completed by 2030.[109] Britain's radar is planned for construction at Cawdor Barracks in Pembrokeshire, Wales.[110]

Partnership expansion

The following non-participating nations have expressed interest in joining the partnership or were subject to media attention of potentially joining:

Nuclear proliferation concerns

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows non-nuclear-weapon states to produce the highly enriched uranium for naval reactor fuel.[64] Nevertheless, the agreement to transfer US or UK nuclear submarine technology including possibly highly enriched uranium has been described as an act of nuclear proliferation,[117][118] and has been criticised by scholars and politicians.[118][119][120] In the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, scholar Sébastien Philippe criticised AUKUS and wrote "we can now expect the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years, with literally tons of new nuclear materials under loose or no international safeguards."[118] James M. Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote that "the nonproliferation implications of the AUKUS submarine deal are both negative and serious. For Australia to operate nuclear-powered submarines, it will have to become the first non-nuclear-weapon state to exercise a loophole that allows it to remove nuclear material from the inspection system of the International Atomic Energy Agency. I have no real concerns that Australia will misuse this material itself, but I am concerned that this removal will set a damaging precedent. In the future, would-be proliferators could use naval reactor programs as cover for the development of nuclear weapons."[121]

Australia and Brazil[122][123][note 4] would be the first countries without nuclear weapons to have nuclear-powered submarines. Concerns were raised that this may lead to increased risk of arms proliferation if other countries follow the same approach because it would involve other countries enriching uranium for naval reactors, potentially creating more avenues to develop material needed for nuclear weapons without the safeguards provided by regular inspections.[72] This would not apply in the case of Brazil because the reactor will use low enriched uranium at 7% concentration.[124] 20% is the minimum level required to make a nuclear weapon.[64]

Comments and responses from participating countries

Territories and territorial waters of Australia (yellow), the United Kingdom (blue), and the United States (green), including the respective Antarctic claims of Australia and the UK.

Australia

A speaker during a December 2021 protest against the AUKUS agreement in Melbourne

The federal opposition leader at the time, Anthony Albanese, of the Australian Labor Party, said that his party would support nuclear submarines as long as there was no requirement to have a domestic civil nuclear industry, no possession of nuclear weapons and that the deal is consistent with Australia's responsibilities under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.[125] Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating condemned the deal, saying "This arrangement would witness a further dramatic loss of Australian sovereignty, as material dependency on the United States robbed Australia of any freedom or choice in any engagement Australia may deem appropriate".[125] Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd warned against overly obtrusive criticism of China and recommended that Australia focus on quietly improving military capability.[126]

Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who had signed the original deal for the Attack class submarines called the decision to scrap the deal "an appalling episode in Australia's international affairs and the consequences of it will endure to our disadvantage for a very long time". He called the actions of his successor as deceitful and that it would damage Australia as foreign nations would not longer be able to trust Australia.[127]

Former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott called the move "the biggest decision that any Australian government has made in decades" as "it indicates that we are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States and the United Kingdom in meeting the great strategic challenge of our time, which obviously, is China".[126] Abbott said that Australia would be safer as a result, and cited China's increasing naval firepower as a justification for the deal.[126]

The Australian defence minister at the time, Peter Dutton, responded by saying that Australia wanted peace and stability and "an opportunity for Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka and Korea to continue to develop". Dutton further dismissed "outbursts from China" and said that Australia was a "proud democracy" committed to "enduring peace and this collaboration makes it a safer region ... no amount of propaganda can dismiss the facts".[54]

Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt criticised the deal, saying that it escalates tensions in the region and "makes Australia less safe".[128]

In December 2022, the online publication East Asia Forum (based at the Australian National University) published an article stating that AUKUS highlights the need for Australia to have an advanced industrial base to sustain its planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, as well as to support hypersonic and artificial intelligence (AI) military systems.[129]

United Kingdom

Prime Minister at the time, Boris Johnson said that the deal would create "hundreds of high-skilled jobs" and "preserve security and stability around the world" but said that the relationship with France was "rock solid".[10] Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said: "After years of bullying and trade hostility, and watching regional neighbours like the Philippines see encroachment into their waters, Australia didn't have a choice, and nor did the US or UK [to make the deal]".[130] Former prime minister Theresa May questioned whether the UK would be forced into a war with China should Taiwan be invaded.[131]

Johnson responded to French anger on 21 September by saying "I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break";[132] the latter being broken French for "get a grip and give me a break".[133] He made further reference to the deal in his speech at the Conservative Party Conference the next month, touting it as "a supreme example of global Britain in action, of something daring and brilliant that would simply would not have happened if we'd remained in the EU", whilst acknowledging "a certain raucous squawkus from the anti-AUKUS caucus."[134][135]

Foreign Secretary at the time, Liz Truss viewed AUKUS as the beginning of a "Network of Liberty", and also stated "On security we are striking new pacts to protect our sea routes, trade routes and freedoms", adding that "We are in talks with Japan about better military access and operational support between our two countries [and] we want closer security ties with key allies like India and Canada in everything from fighting cyber to traditional defence capability".[136]

Former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn called the partnership "crazy beyond belief", with Labour members voting to condemn the partnership as dangerous to world peace.[137][138]

The British High Commissioner to Australia Victoria Treadell told ABC Radio "This is not an issue of this Anglosphere and I really do think we have to move away from defining countries like Australia, US and the UK as Anglosphere".

United States

President Joe Biden stated that the deal was a way to "address both the current strategic environment in the (Indo-Pacific) region and how it may evolve".[139] After a call between the French and US presidents, the White House acknowledged the crisis could have been averted if there had been open consultations between allies. It was agreed the process would continue in such manner.[140][141]

International responses

Japan

On 12 April 2022, Sankei Shimbun reported that the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia were inquiring about Japan's participation in the security framework of AUKUS. The newspaper added that the aim of said negotiations was related to the incorporation of Japanese hypersonic weapon development and the strengthening of electronic warfare capabilities.[142] Prior to this, in November 2021, former prime minister Shinzo Abe in a virtual address to the Sydney Dialogue, welcomed the creation of AUKUS in the midst of an increasingly severe security environment, and called for greater Japan-AUKUS cooperation and integration concerning artificial intelligence and cyberwarfare capabilities.[143][144][145] The US denied inviting Japan into the security alliance, with Jen Psaki stating that Sankei Shimbun's report was "inaccurate".[146] This was followed up by a refutation from Hirokazu Matsuno, the Japanese chief cabinet secretary.[147][148] On 10 December 2022, Australia's Minister for Defence announced their desire for Japan to join the partnership.[149]

On 14 March 2023, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio expressed his support for Australia's planned acquisition of US-made nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS partnership.[150]

France

The French government received official notification from Australia that the Attack-class submarine project was to be cancelled only a few hours before it was publicly announced.[151][20] Le Monde reported that the original cost of the project in 2016 was €35 billion of which €8 billion (A$12 billion) was to go to French companies.[152][153] The project was reportedly going to employ 4,000 people in France over six years at Naval Group and its 200 subcontractors.[153] The French government was angered by both the cancellation of the Attack-class submarine project and not being made aware of the negotiations that led to the AUKUS agreement.[154] In a joint statement, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and armed forces minister Florence Parly expressed disappointment at Australia's decision to abandon their joint submarine program with France.[155][10]

Le Drian further stated in a radio interview that the contract termination was a "stab in the back".[10] On 17 September, France recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the US, Jean-Pierre Thébault and Philippe Étienne respectively.[13] Despite tension in the past, France had never before withdrawn its ambassador to the United States.[156] In a statement, Le Drian said that the "exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the [AUKUS] announcements" and that the snap cancellation of the submarine contract "constitute[d] unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners".[13] French president Emmanuel Macron has not commented but is reported to have been "furious" about the turn of events. In response to questions about the Australia-EU trade deal currently being negotiated, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune stated that he doesn't see how France can trust Australia.[157] Arnaud Danjean, a French MEP, said that "Australians can expect more than a delay in concluding the Free Trade Agreement with the EU".[157] French Lowy Institute policy analyst Hervé Lemahieu said the diplomatic damage from the cancellation will take years to repair and leave a lasting legacy of mistrust".[13] After a call between the French and US presidents, the French ambassador returned to the US on 30 September.[140][158]

Beaune described the United Kingdom as a junior partner and vassal of the United States due to the partnership, saying in an interview: "Our British friends explained to us they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. We can see that this is a return into the American lap and a form of accepted vassalisation."[159] Le Drian stated that "We have recalled our ambassadors to [Canberra and Washington] to re-evaluate the situation. With Britain, there is no need. We know their constant opportunism. So there is no need to bring our ambassador back to explain."[160] A Franco-British defence summit was cancelled.[161]

Some opposition politicians in France, such as Xavier Bertrand, Jordan Bardella, and Fabien Roussel, criticised the French government and demanded that France leave NATO, with Christian Jacob as well as demanding a parliamentary inquiry.[162][163]

A foreign ministers meeting between France, Germany, the UK, and the US had been postponed, and a ministerial meeting between Australia, France, and India was cancelled.[164][165] France however, contacted India to talk about strengthening their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.[166] France's foreign commerce minister declined a meeting with his Australian counterpart.[167]

French president Macron said that Europe needs to stop being naïve when it comes to defending its interests and build its own military capacity.[168]

Following the ousting of Scott Morrison's government after the 2022 Australian federal election, the new Labor government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese agreed to a €555 million (US$584 million) settlement with French defence contractor Naval Group. In response, French defence minister Lecornu said that France aims to rebuild its relationship with Australia. In addition, Albanese announced plans to travel to France to reset bilateral relations between the two countries.[17][18]

China

The People's Republic of China (PRC)'s foreign affairs department spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, "The nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, the UK, and Australia has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international non-proliferation efforts".[169] Zhao also said "The three countries should discard the Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow geopolitical perspective".[170] Spokesperson Hua Chunying said "China is firmly opposed to the US, the UK and Australia's malicious exploitation of loopholes in the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards mechanism".[171]

The Chinese Communist Party-owned tabloid Global Times, which is known for being more aggressive than official government statements, denounced Australia and said it had "turned itself into an adversary of China" and warned that Australia could be targeted by China as a warning to other countries if it acted "with bravado" in alliance with the US, or by being "militarily assertive".[130] It further told Australia to avoid "provocation" or else China would "certainly punish it with no mercy",[54] and concluded "Thus, Australian troops are also most likely to be the first batch of western soldiers to waste their lives in the South China Sea".[130]

A Chinese Communist Party official, Victor Gao — former interpreter for Deng Xiaoping and vice president of a Beijing think tank, the Center for China and Globalization — considered the move to be a violation of international law and warned that Australia's moves towards nuclear-powered submarines would lead to the country "being targeted with nuclear weapons", in a future nuclear war.[172]

The PRC ambassador to France Lu Shaye urged the new alliance to fulfill their nuclear non proliferation obligations and said Asia-Pacific needs jobs, not submarines, and urged France to boost cooperation.[173][174]

Other countries

European Union

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who told CNN that "one of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable. ... We want to know what happened and why."[217][218] The EU also demanded an apology from Australia.[219] President of the European Council Charles Michel denounced a "lack of transparency and loyalty" by the US.[220] The EU said the crisis affects the whole union.[221]

Preparations for a new EU-US trade and technology council between the US and EU were postponed.[177] France eventually dropped their opposition to these talks which took place in Pittsburgh on 29 September 2021. France also attempted to delay the free trade talks between the EU and Australia.[222] Apparently "most of Europe felt that transatlantic ties were too important to sacrifice to French pique"; such as the pro-free trade Northern Europe countries, as well as Eastern European nations that prioritize security ties with Washington, who "resented the French attempt to impose its indignation on the rest of the bloc".[223] Key advocates for the TTC talks included EU's digital chief Margrethe Vestager, who favors open markets, and EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis from Latvia, who views the US alliance and NATO as a vital counterweight to Russia and China.[224][223][225] Lithuanian deputy European Affairs Minister Arnoldas Prankevicius proclaimed "What is important is to keep trans-Atlantic unity, because we believe this is our biggest strength and biggest value, especially vis-à-vis such countries as Russia and China".[222]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The exact build price and sustainment costs submitted by Naval Group to the Australian government are confidential. The government has refused to release the details under FOI.[22] A decision by the OAIC to overturn the refusal and release the details is being appealed by the Department of Defence and Naval Group at the AAT).[23][24]
  2. ^ The 2012 Australian Defence Force Posture Review recommended that Australia's submarine base at HMAS Stirling in Perth be expanded and be able to support US Navy (USN) submarines.[60]
  3. ^ Even though Australia is a leading producer of uranium, it has never operated nuclear power plants.[72]
  4. ^ See Brazilian submarine Álvaro Alberto.

References

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  2. ^ Ward, Alexander; McLeary, Paul. "Biden announces joint deal with U.K. and Australia to counter China". Politico. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
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  4. ^ a b c Prime Minister (6 April 2022). "Fact Sheet: Implementation of the Australia – United Kingdom – United States Partnership (AUKUS)" (PDF). Prime Minister of Australia (Press release). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 April 2022. This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.
  5. ^ "Aukus: China denounces US-UK-Australia pact as irresponsible". BBC News. 16 September 2021. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
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  7. ^ Daniel, Hurst (8 April 2022). "Caroline Kennedy praises Australia's bipartisan foreign policy despite PM's claims on Labor and China". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
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  9. ^ Cranston, Michael (21 November 2021). "AUKUS causing Xi 'heartburn', says White House". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
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