The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia today introduced a new cooperation agreement, the abbreviated Aukus of the names of the English countries. In a joint statement issued by the heads of government of the three countries, US President Joe Biden described the partnership as a “new phase of cooperation” and said the world was dependent on a free and open Indo-Pacific and that the White House was committed to that goal.
“We are working with the UK and Australia to tackle the challenges and threats of the 21st century,” Biden said. None of the three leaders is named after China, but the US said it would continue to cooperate with the Quad Group, including India and Japan, in seeking independence in the Indo-Pacific region, which is seen as an attempt by the group to expand Beijing’s influence in the region.
A key feature of the collaboration is the partnership to provide access to submarines with nuclear reactors in Australia, which the US and UK already use. Biden recalled that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also sought to reinforce that this was not about weapons. “We are committed to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons,” he said. “The future of the Indo-Pacific will affect the whole world,” he concluded.
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