Is the AUKUS Agreement of the US, Australia, and the UK an anti-China alliance?

Is the AUKUS Agreement of the US, Australia, and the UK an anti-China alliance?  - Photo 1.

The British Astute-class nuclear submarine escorted the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during a sea voyage – Photo: Royal Navy

On the morning of September 16, US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British counterpart Boris Johnson announced the AUKUS tripartite partnership.

The US President stressed that these efforts “will help maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”. The US leader also announced an initiative to help Australia have a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines “as soon as possible”.

The three parties benefit

The Australian Government insists AUKUS is key to Australia becoming a more capable power in the 21st century.

Exchange with Youth Online, researcher on military and maritime security Nguyen The Phuong said that to achieve AUKUS, Australia has been quite proactive.

In addition to the internal debate over whether to own nuclear submarines, Australia also faces another issue: the deal to buy 12 conventional submarines from France.

“Canberra has removed those obstacles to sign AUKUS. This is typical of the foreign policy of a middle power (Australia),” said Master The Phuong, now a lecturer at the University’s Department of International Relations. Economics – Finance HCMC commented.

According to Mr. The Phuong, AUKUS will connect the defense industry of all three countries. “From artificial intelligence (AI), drones (planes/drones) to shipbuilding industry, all three countries will be able to save costs by sharing everything such as platforms and costs.” costs of innovation and research. Australia will be a big beneficiary in this respect.”

The US and UK will also benefit from this process. “The US could deploy nuclear submarines in Australia, strengthen its presence beyond the second island chain and in the Pacific island nations. For the UK, this cooperation is helping it realize its engagement commitment. more into the Indo-Pacific,” noted expert The Phuong.

Not to the point of an alliance?

Is the AUKUS Agreement of the US, Australia, and the UK an anti-China alliance?  - Photo 2.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) and US President Joe Biden at the AUKUS announcement ceremony at dawn on September 16 – Photo: REUTERS

Some observers consider AUKUS to be the first major military and security cooperation mechanism established by the US after the dissolution of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) in 1977. The emergence of AUKUS is predicted. will create remarkable changes in the region.

Exchange with Youth Online, Ngo Di Lan, a doctoral student at Brandeis University (USA), said that AUKUS is not yet to be considered a true alliance but is only a significant upgrade in relations between the three countries.

The most obvious example is the fact that the leaders of the US, UK and Australia just called AUKUS “Tripartite Enhanced Security Partnership Agreement”.

“There is a high probability that there will not be a common defense clause, which is the mainstay of true military alliances. By doing so, it is to create conditions for China to challenge the limits of the alliance with military activities. below the level of armed conflict”, expert Di Lan predicted.

If AUKUS does not react strongly to Beijing’s tests, this “alliance” will be criticized as a “paper tiger” and lead to an erosion of confidence among US allies. But if AUKUS reacts strongly, the risk of direct conflict with China will escalate and this is something many countries are trying to avoid.

According to Mr. The Phuong, Australia does not see AUKUS as an alliance designed to contain or eliminate China.

“From Canberra’s perspective, China is an irreplaceable part of the region and this is a mechanism to force Beijing to change its behaviour. But to succeed, other middle powers will need to join the bandwagon,” he said. response”.

Is the AUKUS agreement of the US, Australia, and the UK an anti-China alliance?  - Photo 3.

China’s Type 055 Destroyer – Screenshot

How will China react?

Although no leader mentioned China, AUKUS is being seen as a US-UK-Australia handshake to deal with Beijing.

The Guardian newspaper quoted Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, as saying there was “no doubt” that AUKUS’s goal was to confront China.

According to Mr. Shi, Beijing’s relations with the three AUKUS countries are at a low level and the governments of these countries are all trying to counter China’s “strategic influence expansion”.

The Chinese expert said that Beijing would respond with a “zero tolerance attitude and measures”, especially if Australia’s nuclear submarines entered the South China Sea for joint exercises with the UK and the US.

“China will certainly oppose AUKUS’s actions, but the question is how to react,” Hoang said.

According to Master The Phuong, Beijing may announce the deployment of warships to the South Pacific, in areas near Australian territory to show its attitude to the arrival of AUKUS. In addition to the reaction of China, the reaction of ASEAN and other countries will also be worth noting in the coming time.

Australia will have at least 8 nuclear submarines

According to the Australian Department of Defense, the Australian navy will seek to possess at least eight nuclear submarines through the support of the US and UK within the framework of AUKUS.

The Australian Department of Defense also sought to clarify these were nuclear-powered submarines, as opposed to possessing nuclear weapons, and stressed that Australia has always adhered to nuclear non-proliferation treaties.

The new fleet of submarines will be built in Adelaide, South Australia. There is a lot of debate and speculation about which submarine class will be chosen, it may be the British Astute class or the American Virginia class.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating has strongly opposed AUKUS and the plan to buy nuclear submarines. According to Mr. Keating, Australia’s operation of conventional submarines has not yet been completed, how can they operate nuclear submarines because they are too complicated and expensive.

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