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China, France denounce U.S. nuclear sub pact with Britain, Australia

Stock MarketsSep 16, 2021 23:41
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden gives remarks at Mather Airport, California, U.S., September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis 2/3

By Trevor Hunnicutt, Nandita Bose, David Brunnstrom and Colin Packham

WASHINGTON/CANBERRA (Reuters) -China on Thursday denounced a new Indo-Pacific security alliance between the United States, Britain and Australia, saying such partnerships should not target third countries and warning of an intensified arms race in the region.

Under the arrangement, dubbed AUKUS, the United States and Britain will provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

France, which loses its own submarine deal with Australia, called the plans brutal and unpredictable.

The United States and its allies are looking for ways to push back against China's growing power and influence, particularly its military buildup, pressure on Taiwan and deployments in the contested South China Sea.

U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not mention China by name in the joint announcement and senior Biden administration officials, who briefed reporters ahead of time, said the partnership was not aimed at countering Beijing.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the three countries were "severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying an arms race, and damaging international nuclear non-proliferation efforts".

"China always believes that any regional mechanism should conform to the trend of peace and development of the times and help enhance mutual trust and cooperation... It should not target any third party or undermine its interests," he told a regular briefing in Beijing.

Johnson said the pact was not meant to be adversarial and said it would reduce the costs of Britain's next generation of nuclear submarines.

"Now that we have created AUKUS we expect to accelerate the development of other advanced defence systems including in cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and undersea capabilities," Johnson told parliament.

The partnership ends Australia's 2016 deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build it a new submarine fleet worth $40 billion to replace its more than two-decades-old Collins submarines, a spokesperson for Morrison told Reuters.

France accused Biden of stabbing it in the back and acting like his predecessor Donald Trump https://www.reuters.com/world/us-move-dislodge-france-australia-submarine-deal-is-incoherent-french-ministers-2021-09-15.

"This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do," Le Drian told franceinfo radio. "I am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies."

The three leaders stressed Australia would not be fielding nuclear weapons but using nuclear propulsion systems for the vessels to guard against threats.

"We all recognise the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term," Biden said.

"We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region, and how it may evolve because the future of each of our nations and indeed the world depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead," he said.

Morrison said Australia would meet all its nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

'STRONG ROLE'

One U.S. official said the partnership was the result of months of engagements by military and political leaders during which Britain - which recently sent an aircraft carrier to Asia - had indicated it wanted to do more in the region.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the focus on the Indo-Pacific but said Australia's nuclear-powered submarines would not be allowed in its territorial waters.

Singapore said it had long had relations with Australia, Britain and the United States and hoped their grouping would contribute to peace and stability.

Japan said the three countries' strengthening of security and defence cooperation was important for peace and security.

A U.S. official briefing before the announcement said Biden had not mentioned the plans "in any specific terms" to Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a call last Thursday, but did "underscore our determination to play a strong role in the Indo-Pacific".

U.S. officials said nuclear propulsion would allow the Australian navy to operate more quietly, for longer periods, and provide deterrence across the Indo-Pacific.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the new partnership, on which the EU was not consulted, showed the need for a more assertive European foreign policy.

"We must survive on our own, as others do," Borrell said as he presented a new EU strategy for the Indo-Pacific region. "I understand the extent to which the French government must be disappointed."

Biden said the three governments would launch an 18-month consultation period "to determine every element of this programme, from workforce, to training requirements, to production timelines" and to ensure full compliance with non-proliferation commitments.

Among the U.S. firms that could benefit are General Dynamics Corp (NYSE:GD) and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

General Dynamics' Electric Boat business does much of the design work for U.S. submarines, but critical subsystems such as electronics and nuclear power plants are made by BWX Technologies Inc

U.S. officials did not give a time frame for when Australia would deploy a nuclear-powered submarine, or how many would be built.

A U.S. official said Washington had shared nuclear propulsion technology only once before - with Britain in 1958.

"This is frankly an exception to our policy in many respects... We view this as a one-off."

China, France denounce U.S. nuclear sub pact with Britain, Australia
 

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Comments (10)
Peter Lewis
Petelewis1994942 Sep 20, 2021 12:01
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US behaviour is destroying the markets (but always blamed on China - bit like covid!)
Fong SH
Fong SH Sep 17, 2021 12:54
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Why can't we, as humans, live in harmony on this same earth? Why must we have differences & mixing political matters with businesses, human livings? The government do not own our personal life, so stop this hatred teachings just because it doesn't work well in your political issues. Companies are owned by shareholders, not politicians. Politicians run countries for the wellbeing of her citizens, not their income life. Jobs are being done by individuals in order to salaries to pay taxes to help the country grow. If there's any personal unpleasantness or disputes in your so called political talks, please deal it at your levels, not orchestrating citizens to rally with your unpleasantness. Thank you.
Cedric Cedric
Cedric Cedric Sep 17, 2021 0:02
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In the maintime China applied to join the pacific trade agreement. Because the war is to be won economically.
Jonathan So
Jonathan So Sep 17, 2021 0:02
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Japan wont allow it, and they are the largest economey of the group.
John Jones
John Jones Sep 16, 2021 15:55
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Will this encourage a pact against US/UK? Of course. War consists of two sides fighting and suffering.
John Jones
John Jones Sep 16, 2021 13:37
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Turns out Biden is as bad as Trump.
John Jones
John Jones Sep 16, 2021 13:22
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This is an international US-led attack on china. Aircraft carries, nuclear submarines, gathering allies.
Jonathan So
Jonathan So Sep 16, 2021 13:22
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Your beloved CCP has been threatening the freeworld for the last ten years, so expect a reaction !
John Jones
John Jones Sep 16, 2021 13:22
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Jonathan So not beloved. Grow up u silly child.
Zen Cat
ZenCat Sep 16, 2021 13:22
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China was focused on making money and relations before Xi came along. That man is also a problem for China itself. Hostilities began after he took office in 2013, you can follow all the headlines with a simple google search. The world merely reacting to his belligerence and not the ones initiating provocations.
Jonathan So
Jonathan So Sep 16, 2021 13:22
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John Jones can you use your real name please CCP bot ?
Cedric Cedric
Cedric Cedric Sep 16, 2021 13:22
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Zen Cat I may get the boot in November !
david scott
david scott Sep 16, 2021 11:11
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I don't see what the problem is, everybody knows nuclear is much cleaner than diesel. Australia is just adhering to the paris climate accord haha
John Jones
John Jones Sep 16, 2021 10:54
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What happens if a country as powerful as China starts to gather allies too? People should google the size of the Chinese military - think of the consequences.This is an US-led movememt, to retain it’s economic no 1 status - not sure it’s worth supporting. V dangerous situation.
david scott
david scott Sep 16, 2021 10:54
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China is already doing that, eg. Afghanistan, Iran, N.Korea, Russia etc
Jonathan So
Jonathan So Sep 16, 2021 10:54
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So John Jones, would you give up democracy for the CCP to control the world ? Alow CCP to continue its abuses across the civilised world because they have a lage army willing to die for their Dear leader Xi ?
Vernon Cain
Vernon Cain Sep 16, 2021 10:54
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while China has a large military compared to others in Asia, the United States spends each year what the next top 5 countries spend combined. Other then nukes China is no match to the US
Hans Ontits
Hans Ontits Sep 16, 2021 10:54
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What allies, what powerful countries are left? China is already allied with Russia, and India and China despise each other, who's left?
david scott
david scott Sep 16, 2021 10:52
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I've lost count of the times france stabbed Britain in the back certainly since brexit.
John Jones
John Jones Sep 16, 2021 10:36
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Shocking.
 
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