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Joined by the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and Australia, President Joe Biden in his address to the nation on Wednesday announced a new trilateral defense partnership.

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The collaboration, called AUKUS, will see Australia acquire advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, quantum technology and nuclear-powered submarines.

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“Our country and our brave fighting forces have literally stood shoulder to shoulder for more than 100 years,” Biden said. “Through trench fighting in World War I, islands in World War II, during the chilly winter in Korea and the scorching heat of the Persian Gulf, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom have long been loyal and able partners. , and we are even closer today.”

Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will be a joint effort between the three countries, with a focus on interoperability, equality and mutual benefit. AUKUS leaders said in a joint statement. They expect to provide this capability to the Royal Australian Navy within a period of 18 months.

“Australia is committed to adhering to the highest standards of security measures, transparency, verification and accounting measures to ensure the non-proliferation, safety and security of nuclear materials and technology,” the statement said.

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China is expected to regard the alliance as a provocative move. China has repeatedly slammed Biden as he sought to refocus US foreign policy on the Pacific in the early stages of his presidency.

During the June meeting of the Group of 7, Biden urged America’s allies to work to compete against China. The G-7 countries called on China to respect human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang province and allow a full investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Beijing objected to Biden administration officials repeatedly calling out China on those two points, as well as crackdowns on democracy activists in Hong Kong and cybersecurity breaches originating from China.

Nevertheless, coalition leaders acknowledged that the submarine would not have nuclear weapons. It will be powered only by nuclear power.

President Joe Biden speaks on national security with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House on September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP Photo via Gett)

The AUKUS leaders said, “Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including those of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” “Our three nations are deeply committed to maintaining our leadership on global non-proliferation.”

Before the announcement was made public, a senior administration official dismissed the idea that the coalition was meant to serve as a deterrent against China in the region.

The official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said that the creation of the alliance was not aimed at any one country, and was a part of the effort by the three to maintain engagement and deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. It’s about great effort. Nation’s.

Publicly, administration officials have expressed their willingness to work with China on a range of issues, including curbing the pandemic and climate change. Biden said AUKUS recognizes the need to ensure long-term peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

“We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve,” Biden said. “Because the future of each of our nations, and indeed the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific that is sustainable and flourishing in the decades to come.”