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Commentary: New military alliance with the head targets China

Commentary: New military alliance with the head targets China

Like a knife in the back. This is how French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the news last week that Australia was withdrawing from an agreement to buy twelve submarines from France for 37 billion euros, a deal written in 2016.

Instead, enter Australia In a military agreement and submarine cooperation with the United States and the United Kingdom, which will assist Australia in the development and production of nuclear-powered submarines, in contrast to the diesel-powered submarines that the country promised to buy from France.

The French reaction was so strong that President Emmanuel Macron recalled his country’s ambassadors from Washington and Canberra, a very unusual diplomatic alliance between allies.

The new military agreement It is called AUKUS (after the names of the member states in English) and is of course addressed directly to China.

Australia under Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison in recent years has been one of the most loyal subjects of the increasingly aggressive policy toward China. Relations between China and Australia deteriorated sharply, not least after the Turnbull government in 2018 – like Sweden later – banned China’s Huawei from expanding its 5G network in Australia.

China is predictable and AUKUS denounced the new submarine cooperation as anything but promoting peace in the region. But other voices have also expressed concern.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of the Labor Party wrote in a debate piece in the Sydney Morning Herald that Morrison, rather than making Australia safer, is doing the exact opposite with his China policy. Rudd also calls for transparency about the ability of nuclear-powered submarines to deliver nuclear weapons and about Australia’s nuclear weapons policy.

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Because even if the left party Foreign policy spokesman Håkan Svenneling stepped on the piano that day on Twitter, when he thought nuclear submarines – which are nuclear-powered but not necessarily nuclear-armed – would automatically make Australia a nuclear state, very likely he would be right in the long run.

ASEAN partner Indonesia and Malaysia have strongly opposed AUKUS’ concerns about denuclearization. Australia – again like Sweden – has also refused to sign the United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as it is incompatible with the country’s alliance with the United States.

One thing is for sure, it will be the world No less safe than AUKUS.