Australian PM rejects China pushback on US nuclear sub alliance

Australian PM rejects China pushback on US nuclear sub alliance
© Aaron Schwartz

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed back at criticism from China’s foreign affairs ministry on Friday following the recent announcement of a trilateral partnership with the United States and United Kingdom to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines.

The ministry slammed the partnership, which is aimed at countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific. The move to export nuclear technology by the U.S. and U.K. was “highly irresponsible,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, The Associated Press reported.

“Everything we’ve done with the United States is consistent with the partnerships and relationships and alliances we’ve already had with the United States,” Morrison countered on Friday, claiming the deal was bolstering stability and peace, according to the news outlet.

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Under the recent partnership, dubbed AUKUS, the U.K. and U.S. are working with Australia to see how it can obtain nuclear submarines, which includes cooperation in areas such as undersea capabilities, artificial intelligence and quantum technology. 

During remarks on Wednesday, leaders of the three countries — Morrison, President BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE and Prime Minister Boris Johnson — did not name China specifically, though it is understood that the initiative is aimed at combating the growing power of China in the area.

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,” Biden said. “This is about investing in our greatest source of strength — our alliances — and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow.”

“This initiative is about making sure that each of us has a modern capability, the most modern capabilities we need to maneuver and defend against rapidly evolving threats,” he added.