The game of regional and global balances around China has been reconfigured this Wednesday with an important announcement: a strategic security partnership of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, to jointly defend their interests in the Indo-Pacific area and curb Beijing’s expansionist ambition. The alliance will allow Australia to equip itself with nuclear-powered submarines, to the detriment of a multibillion-dollar French technology program that planned to replace its two-decade-old Collins-class submarines with a type more suited to a “changing strategic environment. ”.
The White House had reported Wednesday that President Joe Biden would announce an unspecified “national security initiative” in the early afternoon. Johnson planned to do the same in a televised message. In a joint statement, Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Scott Morrison reported that “guided by a shared commitment to a rules-based international order [una alusión a la impunidad de China], we resolve to deepen diplomatic, security and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, to face the challenges of the 21st century, for which we announce the creation of AUKUS ”, acronym for Australia, United Kingdom (UK, in its acronym) and USA.
Aukus it will allow the three countries “a deeper integration of science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains related to security and defense.” “By our common tradition as maritime democracies, [EE UU y Reino Unido] we are committed to supporting Australia in the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy “, so that the endowment can be effective within 18 months, reads the statement.
The announcement is the spearhead of a growing cooperation in the region, led by Washington, with the declared objective of curbing Chinese expansionism and its commercial and strategic strength (for example, in Afghanistan). On September 24, Biden will receive in the White House the prime ministers of the Quad, the name given to the recently formed Quadrilateral Dialogue group: India, Japan, Australia and the United States. The recent official visit of the vice president is not by chance Kamala Harris to Southeast Asia; Nor are the tours of heads of the Department of State and Defense.
From the first day of his mandate, Biden’s objective has been to strengthen strategic alliances with China, for which the Indo-Pacific region and specifically the South China Sea constitute a priority. As part of the pact – a blow to the powerful French defense industry, but also to the European Union as a whole – London and Washington will share their knowledge on nuclear defense infrastructure, according to anonymous sources from the White House and Congress cited. by Politico.
In 2016, Canberra signed with the French company Naval Group, one of the main shipbuilders in Europe, a contract worth 40,000 million dollars to replace its aging fleet of submarines, reports Reuters. The commission’s development had, however, been severely delayed by Canberra’s insistence that most of the components used in construction, as well as the bulk of manufacturing, be local.