Tue, 21 Sep 2021 02:00:28 GMT
It came out of the blue – but the new military pact between Australia, the UK and the US could transform international relations for a generation. The Guardian’s defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, explains the Aukus deal that has enraged Beijing
When Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison announced a new deal that would provide Australia with the technology to run silent nuclear submarines as part of its navy, one phrase kept coming up: “stability in the Indo-Pacific”. The word the leaders of the UK, the US and Australia did not use may be more important: China. By striking the Aukus deal, an unprecedented agreement on defence cooperation between the three countries, the governments have moved to counter what they view as Beijing’s aggression – and prompted questions about whether the move is an ominous sign of a new ‘cold war’ mentality.
The unexpected announcement of the nuclear submarines – which are nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed – has also prompted consternation in Paris, where the French government has expressed its fury at the resulting cancellation of a £65bn deal it had with Sydney to provide diesel-powered subs in the coming years.