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US joins UK and Australia in ‘AUKUS’ Defense Deal

Understanding the new defense deal between the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.

By:  |  September 28, 2021  |    361 Words
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(Photo by Don S. Montgomery/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The United States (U.S.), the United Kingdom (U.K.), and Australia (A) recently announced the intent to share nuclear submarine technology. In the security agreement, called AUKUS (for Australia, U.K., and the U.S.), the three countries promise to work united in an area called the Indo-Pacific region – which includes parts of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

The leaders from each nation, President Joe Biden, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, hope to bring more stability to the Indo-Pacific region. They also have a goal to increase collaboration between the nations in science and business and undersea technologies. The deal also gives Australia secret technology to build nuclear submarines, although they will not be equipped with nuclear weapons.

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President Biden joined virtually by Scott Morrison (left) and Boris Johnson (right) (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

But not everyone feels this is a good union: namely China and France.

The AUKUS pact caught France off guard, since it already had a pending deal to build diesel-powered submarines for Australia. There are 1.65 million French citizens on islands in the Indo-Pacific region. The area is a crucial economic and strategic region encompassing Mayotte, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and La Réunion. France did not find out about the deal until a few hours before the official announcement. France felt that the agreement was a “stab in the back,” at least according to Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. In a moment of anger, France recalled its ambassadors from Washington, D.C.

China was also upset by the agreement. The nation’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, called sharing nuclear technology “extremely irresponsible. It appears China now believes the AUKUS nations are its adversary in the region.

Other superpowers view the pact as a response to China gaining more prominence around the South China Sea. China has spent years increasing its military presence in the area.

President Joe Biden is now working on mending the diplomatic split with France and faces a formidable adversary with China.

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