The US, UK and Australia may unveil a plan for nuclear submarines as part of the trilateral AUKUS when their leaders meet in Washington in mid-March, but a real fleet would take a decade or more to form, Chinese analysts said, reminding Australia to be careful of being used as cannon fodder for the United States’ strategic disposition.
According to media reports, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, plan to travel to Washington DC in mid-March to potentially unveil a proposed Australian nuclear submarine project, Bloomberg reported.
The three countries share classified military capabilities to enable Australia to build and deploy new nuclear-powered submarines in the Pacific region.
There are few details available on the plan, and Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, predicted the announcement would be rather vague.
The three AUKUS parties could discuss strengthening cooperation on military techniques, joint operations in the Asia-Pacific given the strong US push for Indo-Pacific strategy, and intelligence sharing, as the three are all members of Five Eyes, Song said. the China Direct on Friday.
The United States could sell its retired submarines to equip Australia, while another possible approach is for the United States, with British assistance, to build a modified version of the class submarines. Virginia for Australia, Song explained. “But it would take a decade for eight to ten submarines to be built and form a capable fleet. »
Song pointed out that the US and UK are more interested, through AUKUS, in using Australian military bases near its east coast. With this, US forces are considering more flexibility beyond the island of Guam in a war scenario.
According to media reports, Australia is also set to host US, Japanese and Indian leaders for the upcoming Quad leaders’ meeting in Sydney in June.
Although the Albanian administration has largely broken with Morrison’s hostility to China, Canberra is still deeply involved in the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at China, observers said.
Chen Hong, president of the China Association of Australian Studies and director of the Center for Australian Studies at East China Normal University, told China Direct on Friday that Australia, if not motivated by defense considerations, does not need nuclear submarines.
The Albanian administration’s proceedings regarding the AUKUS suggest that Australia will continue to stick its finger in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, Chen said.
Canberra hopes to maintain a delicate balance between commercial and cultural relations with China while standing alongside the United States in terms of security and geostrategy. Albanese has played well so far, but Chen warned that such a balance would be increasingly difficult to maintain.
AUKUS, from day one, is a small clique serving US strategic interests. When the US confrontation with China escalates, Washington will certainly keep up the pressure on its allies and partners, Chen said.
The Chinese Embassy in the UK also responded to AUKUS progress on Friday, saying the main thing was to provoke a military confrontation, which is pure Cold War mentality. It has increased the risk of nuclear proliferation, aggravated the arms race in the Asia-Pacific region, and jeopardized regional peace and stability, which is of serious concern to China and firmly opposes it.
The embassy spokesperson said China urges the UK, Australia and the US to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, stop forming small cliques, faithfully fulfill their international obligations and do more things conducive to regional peace and stability.
Source: Chine Direct