September 16, (THEWILL) – 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.
The pact, to be known as AUKUS, will cover artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum technologies, and allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the US.
AUKUS rates as the most significant security arrangement between the three nations since World War 2, analysts say.
China’s embassy in Washington reacted by accusing the countries of a “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.”
In recent years, Western democracies have expressed concerns about China’s growing military assertiveness.
The new partnership aims to “promote security and prosperity” in the region, said US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in a joint virtual press briefing.
But during one awkward moment, Mr Biden appeared to forget Mr Morrison’s name, referring to him as “that fellow down under.”
The pact means Australia has revoked some A$50 billion (€31bn; £27bn) deal it signed with France in 2016 to build 12 submarines.
The pact will focus on military capability, separating it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which also includes New Zealand and Canada.
“This is an historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” the joint statement read.
The leaders did not refer to China directly, but said regional security challenges had “grown significantly”.