- Sputnik International, 1920, 21.09.2021
On 15 September, the US, UK, and Australia announced the new trilateral AUKUS defence partnership. While the partners said it's designed to protect and defend "our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific", some experts believe the true purpose of the partnership is to counter China.

No.10's Biggest Secret: Only Ten People in UK 'Were in the Know About AUKUS Pact'

© AP Photo / Matt DunhamA police officer stands guard outside the door of 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, June 7, 2019
A police officer stands guard outside the door of 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, June 7, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.09.2021
The new defence alliance AUKUS, announced by the US, the UK, and Australia on Wednesday, immediately caused harsh criticism from China and France. The EU, in turn, vowed to deal with "the implications" after it was revealed that the bloc was not informed about AUKUS.
Just ten people in Britain were in the know about the AUKUS pact, which stipulates the US and the UK helping Australia develop nuclear submarine capability, The Times has cited unnamed defence sources as saying.

The source said the list includes a number of senior British officials, among them Prime Minister Boris Johnson, outgoing Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, and Mr Johnson's foreign policy adviser, John Bew.

According to the insiders, the UK government codenamed the deal "Operation Hookless", purportedly the most closely guarded secret inside Downing Street for many years.
One of the sources claimed that the deal-related secret discussions could be likened to a scene from an espionage novel by British-Irish author John Le Carre.
U.S. and British soldiers chat at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan in January. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.09.2021
AUKUS Not Intended to Be Adversarial to Other Countries, UK PM Johnson Says
Those involved in the debates were allegedly ordered to sign a paper pledging to not speak about the discussions outside of the ten-strong group.
The sources also asserted that Australia was interested in sophisticated nuclear-powered submarines in order to tackle an alleged threat from China and that Canberra had decided the diesel electric submarines it earlier agreed to buy from France did not meet the task.
The announcement of the AUKUS alliance on Wednesday was followed by Australia leaving a $90-billion (AUD) submarine deal with France's Naval Group, in what was slammed by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as a "stab in the back".

"We built a relationship of trust with Australia, and this trust was betrayed. This is not done between allies", the minister said.

France was quick to cancel a planned gala at its embassy in Washington to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Capes, a move that was followed by Paris recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia in protest against the AUKUS pact.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for his part, insisted that the new trilateral alliance does not affect the three countries' cooperation with NATO, which remains unshakable, and that the pact does not violate the non-proliferation agreement.
Chinese flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.09.2021
China Accuses US of Intensifying Arms Race by Creating AUKUS
The claims came as UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace fired back at Beijing's previous assertions that the AUKUS partnership between Washington, London, and Canberra is a display of a "Cold War mentality". Wallace said that the new alliance is "not about antagonising anyone" and is "not only about China".
Although Beijing was not mentioned in a statement about the creation of AUKUS, the alliance is widely seen as an effort to contain China's growing regional clout.
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