Biden announces AUKUS nuclear submarine deal to take on China
BREAKING NEWS: Biden announces nuclear submarine deal with the UK and Australia to take on China: Tells Rishi Sunak and Anthony Albanese ‘I am proud to be your shipmate’ in agreement to combat Beijing’s military
President Joe Biden has agreed to sell three fast-attack nuclear submarines to Australia in a deal with the United Kingdom to combat the growing threat of China.
Biden announced the pact at the home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego and in front of the 377-foot nuclear attack submarine the USS Missouri.
The AUKUS deal is about making sure the ‘Indo Pacific will remain free and open’, the president said in a clear message to Beijing as it ramps up its military presence around Taiwan.
He then told British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: ‘The United States could not think of two better friends to stand with.
‘I am proud to be your shipmate,’ he added.
The move marks one of Biden’s most aggressive step towards China’s growing military, and is combined with the Pentagon requesting its biggest peacetime budget in history.
President Joe Biden has agreed to sell three fast-attack nuclear submarines to Australia in a deal with the United Kingdom to combat the growing threat of China. He spoke with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) in front of the nuclear attack submarine the USS Missouri
He then told British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: ‘I am proud to be your ship mate’
The U.S. will share nuclear technology with Australia to help them develop their own fleet that can take on Chinese subs.
The announcement came as the financial markets continued to spiral because of the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank.
‘The United States has safeguarded stability in the Indo-Pacific for decades for the enormous benefit of nations throughout the region,’ Biden said.
‘We’re showing again how democracies can deliver our own security and prosperity, and not just for us but for the entire world,’ he added.
In a joint statement, Biden, Albanese and Sunak endorsed plans for the so-called AUKUS project, first announced in 2021, which angered French President Emmanuel Macron.
Under the deal, the United States intends to sell Australia three U.S. Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, with an option to buy two more if needed, the joint statement said.
The statement from the leaders said the multi-stage project would culminate with British and Australian production and operation of a new class of submarine – SSN-AUKUS – a ‘trilaterally developed’ vessel based on Britain’s next-generation design that would be built in Britain and Australia and include ‘cutting edge’ U.S. technologies.
‘The first UK submarines built to this design will be delivered in the late 2030s … and the first Australian submarines will follow in the early 2040s,’ a British statement said.
The vessels will be built by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, it said.
The agreement will also see U.S. and British submarines deployed in Western Australia to help train Australian crews and bolster deterrence, the senior U.S. official said. The joint statement said the United States and Britain would begin these rotational deployments as soon as 2027 and a senior U.S. official said this would increase to four U.S. submarines and one British in a few years.
This first phase of the plan is already underway with Virginia, a nuclear-powered cruise missile attack submarine, currently visiting Perth, Australia, officials said.
AUKUS will be the first time Washington has shared nuclear-propulsion technology since it did so with Britain in the 1950s.
China has condemned AUKUS as an illegal act of nuclear proliferation. In launching the partnership Australia also upset France by abruptly cancelling a deal to buy French conventional submarines.
The move marks one of Biden’s most aggressive step towards China’s growing military, and is combined with the Pentagon requesting its biggest peacetime budget in history
Briefing a small group of reporters on Friday, Sullivan dismissed China’s concerns and pointed Beijing’s own military buildup, including nuclear-powered submarines.
‘We have communicated with them about AUKUS and sought more information from them about their intentions,’ he said.
Big questions remain about the plan, not least over strict U.S. curbs on the extensive technology sharing needed for the project and about how long it will take to deliver the submarines, even as the perceived threat posed by China mounts.
In a reflection of stretched U.S. production capacity, the senior U.S. official told Reuters it was ‘very likely’ one or two of the Virginia-class submarines sold to Australia would be vessels that had been in U.S. service, something that would require congressional approval.
Australia had agreed to contribute funds to boost U.S. and British submarine production and maintenance capacity, the official said.
He said Washington was looking at ‘double digit billion’ investment in its submarine industrial base on top of $4.6 billion already committed for 2023-29 and that the Australian contribution would be less than 15 percent of the total.
One senior U.S. official said AUKUS reflected mounting threats in the Indo-Pacific, not just from China towards self-ruled Taiwan and in the contested South China Sea, but also from Russia, which has conducted joint exercises with China, and North Korea as well.
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