Australia signs key nuclear submarine deal with US and UK

The tripartite agreement gives Australia access to US nuclear-powered submarine technology – US NAVY/AFP/Archives

Australia formally joined this Monday (Sunday 21, Brazil) to a program with the United States and the United Kingdom, which will allow the country in Oceania to equip itself with nuclear-powered submarines, in an alliance that provoked the irritation from France and China.

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton signed with diplomatic representatives from Washington and London the agreement for the exchange of “naval nuclear propulsion information” between their countries.

This is the first publicly signed agreement for this technology since the three countries formed the alliance known as AUKUS in September, aimed at confronting strategic tensions in the Pacific, where rivalry between China and the United States is growing.

“The agreement will allow for cooperation that will improve our posture of mutual defense,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday before the pact was signed in Canberra, headed by US chargé d’affaires Michael Goldman and of British diplomat Victoria Treadell.

Under the AUKUS agreement, Australia will obtain eight nuclear-powered submarines capable of carrying out long-range missions, and plans to share artificial intelligence and other non-detailed submarine capabilities.

The pact angered China, which called it an “extremely irresponsible” threat to stability in the Pacific.

It also infuriated France, which learned at the last minute that Australia had dropped a deal to buy French diesel submarines in favor of American nuclear-powered vessels.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the deal, noting that it responds to his country’s interests and that he knew it would cause discomfort.

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