Amid “concerns” about the growing threat from China, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will head to the United States on Sunday to finalize details of a submarine deal aimed at countering Beijing.
Sunak is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in order to finalize the details of the submarine deal aimed at countering China.
Albanese announced, on Wednesday, that he would visit the United States soon to meet Biden at a summit that is expected to include the announcement of a huge agreement under which Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
This comes under the tripartite “Ocus” alliance that was announced in 2021 as part of efforts to counter China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Okus agreement also provides for cooperation between the three allies in the field of hypersonic missiles, artificial intelligence and electronic warfare.
The meeting in San Diego, California, on Monday is expected to decide the next steps Australia will have to take to receive the submarines.
Ahead of his trip to California, Sunak paid tribute to Okus, saying, “Partnerships like this exemplify Britain’s approach (…) In turbulent times, the UK’s global alliances are our greatest source of strength and security.”
“Today I am traveling to the United States to launch the next phase of the Okus nuclear submarine program, a project that will strengthen ties with our closest allies and provide security, new technology, and economic benefits at home,” he added.
Sunak said the UK would be “safe, prosperous and standing shoulder to shoulder with our partners”, thanks to the program and the updated integrated review.
The visit threatened negative repercussions for Sunak’s Friday trip to Paris, given the French government’s reaction to its submarine deal with Australia that was scrapped a year and a half ago.
Britain is stepping up efforts to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific region, and Sunak hopes Monday’s trilateral summit will show his commitment to standing up to China.
The Guardian revealed earlier this week that Sunak was happy about the outcome of the negotiations, as according to several sources the eight nuclear-powered submarines will be based on British designs.
Under the trilateral agreement, the United States and the United Kingdom will agree to share secret reactor technology, making Australia the seventh country to own a nuclear-powered submarine and rely on an enriched uranium reactor.
The move would put Australia’s diesel-powered navy on a technological level with China, but would require supplying a reactor to Canberra, which is not a nuclear power, a move Beijing has argued is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Source : al-ain.com