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Australia Offers China Briefing on AUKUS Nuclear Sub Plan

© AFP 2023 / JIM WATSONUS President Joe Biden (R) meets with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L) during the AUKUS summit at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego California on March 13, 2023
US President Joe Biden (R) meets with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L) during the AUKUS summit at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego California on March 13, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2023
China has repeatedly slammed AUKUS as a pact that exacerbates the regional arms race and endangers peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia is not aware of any response from China after Canberra offered Beijing a briefing about the AUKUS pact, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told reporters on Tuesday.
He mentioned more than 60 calls to leaders of countries in southeast Asia and the Pacific that Marles said the Australian government made last week to inform them about AUKUS.
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The statement follows US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese unveiling details of their plan to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines for Canberra within the AUKUS framework.
Under the plan, which was announced at an AUKUS summit in San Diego on Tuesday, the US will provide Australia with three American Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, with an option for Canberra to buy two more such vessels if needed.
US President Joe Biden made it clear during the news briefing after the summit that he is not worried about China viewing the AUKUS partnership between Australia, the UK and the US as aggressive.
The Australian Department of Defense in turn said that “Australians have already commenced training and working on UK and US nuclear-powered submarines and in UK and US facilities.”
The department added that the program would directly create around 20,000 jobs over the next 30 years across the industrial sector, the Australian Defense Force and the Australian Public Service.
Australia, the US and the UK announced the AUKUS defense partnership in September 2021. The first initiative announced under the AUKUS pact was the development of nuclear-powered submarine technology for the Royal Australian Navy, which prompted the Australian government to abandon a $66 billion agreement with France's Naval Group company on the construction of diesel-electric submarines.
Beijing has repeatedly been critical of the AUKUS deal, slamming it as a breach of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said last week that “Despite being called a 'trilateral security partnership,' AUKUS is essentially about fueling military confrontation through military collaboration.”

“It is apparently driven by Cold War thinking. It creates additional nuclear proliferation risks, exacerbates the arms race in the Asia-Pacific and hurts regional peace and stability. China is deeply concerned and firmly opposed to it," Mao emphasized.

Beijing urged the US, UK, and Australia to "abandon their Cold War and zero-sum mindset, honor their international obligations, and act in the interest of regional peace and stability."
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