Nuclear submarines, Aukus plan to stop China: what it is and what it foresees

Unveiled the details of the agreement between the US, the UK and Australia to equip Canberra with a fleet of new generation submarines against Beijing’s expansion in the Indo-Pacific

Nuclear submarines to Australia to counter Chinese military expansion in the Asia Pacific region. This is essentially the heart of the Aukus agreement between the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom, to counter Beijing’s geopolitical aims. The details of the pact, announced 18 months ago, were revealed during a summit at the Point Loma naval base in San Diego, between US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The reaction from China was immediate, speaking of a “path of error and danger” and urging us to abandon this “Cold War mentality”. While the Kremlin asks for clarifications.

“We are at a key moment in history where hard work to strengthen deterrence and promote stability will impact the prospects for peace over the next few decades,” Joe Biden said. “We are showing once again how democracies can guarantee their own security and prosperity, not only for us but for the whole world”, added the American president.

For Albanese this agreement “represents the largest investment in Australian defense capabilities in our history”. Sunak, who has just announced an increase in military spending of 5 billion pounds over the next two years, including for the Aukus project, spoke of “the most significant multilateral military partnership of recent generations”.

THE AUKUS CHORD, WHAT IT IS – The agreement foresees that Australia will purchase three Virginia-class submarines starting from the beginning of the 2030s, with the possibility of reaching 5, if necessary. The submarines will be built in the UK and Australia with US technology and support.

Three phases in the coming decades. Initially, the United States will sell three Virginia-class submarines to Australia, which will have the option to buy another 2, at a price of 3 billion each. The goal is to deliver the first submarine by 2032. Then Australia will buy a nuclear-powered submarine, designed by the United Kingdom with US technology, which will be called Ssn-Aukus, which will be built in British shipyards, with the Australia which will be able to develop the capacity to build its own version starting from 2040.

Already at the end of this decade, the United States will send some Virginia-class submarines to Australia to allow Australian crews to train in the use of submarines and to strengthen the American presence in the region. British submarines will be sent to the region with the same objective.

The White House underlines how this agreement is “the demonstration of maximum commitment to allies, taking the crown jewel of US technology and sharing it with Australia”, said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. The US has so far only shared submarines with the UK, and that was 65 years ago. It must also be emphasized that this agreement took shape at a time of global tension, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions with China. “Russia’s war in Ukraine has further highlighted the need to invest in our basic war industry together with our allies”, they explain again from the White House, stating that the Aukus pact “is the manifestation of this need”.

CHINA – The Aukus strategic alliance between the US, the UK and Australia, with its agreement on submarines, indicates that the three countries have decided to walk on a “path of error and danger”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said. “The latest joint statement by the US, UK and Australia demonstrates that the three countries, for the sake of their own geopolitical interests, completely ignore the fears of the international community and are increasingly walking down the path of error and danger” the spokesman explained. “The Aukus submarine program is part of the typical Cold War mentalitywhich will only fuel an arms race, sabotage the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and damage stability and peace in the region,” Wenbin added.

However, Joe Biden says he is not worried about the possibility that Xi Jinping may consider the Aukus pact an aggression. In fact, he replied with a resounding “no” to a journalist who asked him about this eventuality, recalling the recent statements by the Chinese president regarding the US policy of “containment, encirclement and suppression of China”. The American president then confirmed that he intends to speak with Xi soon, without however providing a date or other details.

RUSSIA – But criticisms have also come from Russia, according to which the plan raises “many questions related to non-proliferation”. “There must be further transparency on this issue and answers to all questions raised,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. While for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the trilateral Australia-UK-US security pact lays the foundations for “years of confrontation” in Asia. “The Anglo-Saxon world with the creation of blocs like Aukus and with the advancement of NATO’s military infrastructure in Asia is betting seriously on many years of confrontation” in the region, he said, adding that “I can’t imagine the great Asian civilizations ending simply under control, as, unfortunately, the European Union did, and obediently execute the plans of Washington and our other Anglo-Saxon colleagues”.