Biden to announce Indo-Pacific alliance with UK, Australia

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President Joe Biden is set to announce on Wednesday that the United States is joining a new Indo-Pacific security alliance with Britain and Australia that will allow for greater sharing of defense capabilities, a move that The growing gap in US-China relations could deepen.

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Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are expected to make comments during a joint virtual event where they will expand the new coalition called AUKUS.

The new security alliance could be seen as a provocative move by China, which has repeatedly rebuked Biden as he sought to restart US foreign policy on the Pacific in the early stages of his presidency.

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Before the announcement, a senior administration official tried to downplay the idea that the coalition was meant to serve as a deterrent against China in the region. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said the formation of the alliance was not aimed at any one country, and was part of a larger effort by the three countries to maintain engagement and resistance in the Indo-Pacific. is about.

The official said the three countries have agreed to share information in areas including artificial intelligence, cyber and underwater defense capabilities.

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The official said the three countries are also expected to announce plans to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines. To date, the only country with which the United States has shared nuclear propulsion technology is Britain. The administration official said Australia was not seeking to develop a nuclear weapons program and that information sharing would be limited to helping the nation develop a submarine fleet.

The announcement of the new security alliance comes after US-China relations deteriorated. Beijing clashed with Biden administration officials over human rights abuses in Jiangning province, crackdowns on democracy activists in Hong Kong, and cybersecurity breaches originating from China, as well as Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and repeated calls to China at the White House. with exception. has labeled as “coercive and unfair” trade practices.

Even as White House officials have repeatedly spoken out about China, administration officials say they want to work with Beijing on areas of common interest, including on the pandemic and climate change. containment is included.

Biden last week spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the phone amid growing frustration on the US side that high-level engagements between the two leaders’ top advisers have been largely fruitless.

After a 90-minute phone call, the official Xinhua news agency reported that Xi expressed concern that the US government’s policy towards China had created “serious difficulties” in relations.

Asked on Tuesday about media reports that Xi had refused to meet him in person, the US president said it was “untrue”.

The US and Australia are members of a strategic dialogue known as the “Quad” along with India and Japan. Biden is set to host fellow Quad leaders at the White House next week.

Biden has sought to rally allies to speak with a more unified voice on China and try to send the message that he will take a radically different approach to China than former President Donald Trump, who has called the US He put trade and economic issues at the top. -China relations.

In June, at Biden’s insistence, the Group of Seven called on China to respect human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang province and allow a full investigation into the origins of COVID-19. While the allies widely agreed to work toward competing against China, there was little unity on how hostile the group should be to the public situation.

The president has also sought to make clear to allies, especially those in the Quad, that his administration will remain focused on China.

Along with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Biden has underscored US commitment to protect the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing. In conversation with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Biden has stressed the need for “close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific”. And along with Australia’s Morrison, the president has insisted that a coalition of the two countries was essential to stability in the region.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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