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What is Behind Australia’s Reported Plans to Buy US Nuclear Subs as Part of AUKUS?

© US Navy photoUS Navy Virginia-class attack submarine SSN 774 USS Virginia (US Navy photo)
US Navy Virginia-class attack submarine SSN 774 USS Virginia (US Navy photo) - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2023
The acquisition of several US nuclear powered submarines by Australia will almost certain destabilize the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Wang Guanglin from Shanghai International Studies University told Sputnik.
Australia plans to buy up to five US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines as part of a defense agreement between Washington, Canberra and London, known as the AUKUS pact, a British news agency has reported.
The report cited unnamed sources as saying that the delivery of the submarine is expected in the 2030s. When asked whether Australia will retain full operational control of the submarines, or could they be commanded by Americans, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese argued that Canberra “will retain absolutely our sovereignty, our absolute sovereignty, 100%.”

“Obviously, this is directed against China. The US media are fueling rumors about the Chinese potential attack on Taiwan and tense situation in the Asia-Pacific region to justify the reasons for their actions. As a self-proclaimed world judge, the US is interfering in Asia-Pacific affairs to prevent China from taking any action against Taiwan,” Guanglin said.

He added that the US “has always sought to secure its military presence and strategic advantage in the Asia-Pacific region.” According to the Chinese expert, Beijing’s growing political and economic assertiveness angers Washington, but the US on its own cannot contain China.

“This is why the US will seek to form strategic alliances in order to try to encircle China. The US, Australia, and the UK have common cultural background and similar strategic needs. Therefore, it is not surprising that they are trying to unite forces. However, it is necessary to look at where exactly they will direct their forces,” Guanglin noted.

Recalling the tense situation in the Asia-Pacific region, the expert argued that “Australia possessing 4-5 Virginia-class nuclear submarines will inevitably disrupt the strategic balance in the region, create new competition and force neighboring countries to increase military spending.”

“This will affect people’s living standards, because the increase in defense budgets [of those countries] will cut spending on public needs. Global economic recovery will also slow down, with countries failing to duly respond to global challenges, such as global warming. This is clearly not what ordinary people would like to see,” Guanglin concluded.

Australian and American flags sit on the table during a meeting between Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on September 22, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.08.2022
China Calls Australia's Nuclear Submarine Plan Under AUKUS a 'Hot Spot Issue'
Australia, the US and the UK announced the AUKUS pact in September 2021. The document stipulates the development of nuclear-powered submarine technology for the Royal Australian Navy, so the Australian government decided to abandon its agreement, estimated at $66 billion at that time, with France's Naval Group company for the construction of diesel-electric submarines.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected AUKUS as an alliance that fuels the arms race in the Asia-Pacific, undermines the nuclear non-proliferation regime and threatens regional stability.
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