Australia recently unveiled the deal for purchasing nuclear submarines as part of the defense partnership with AUKUS, which includes the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The details were unveiled during a joint announcement that featured President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed in a press briefing that Australia's nuclear submarine deal with AUKUS could endanger regional stability and security. (Related: China may have already deployed unstoppable hypersonic missiles capable of targeting American bases in the Pacific.)
"The latest joint statement from the U.S., U.K. and Australia demonstrates that the three countries, for the sake of their own geopolitical interests, completely disregard the concerns of the international communities and are walking further and further down the path of error and danger," said Wang. This comes after China claimed at the U.N. that the three nations are fueling an arms race and that this deal was a "textbook case of a double standard."
Wang also accused the U.S. of refusing to communicate clearly with China and harming bilateral relations. "The U.S. side should come forward sincerely, with practical actions to promote China-U.S. relations," he said.
Australia's nuclear submarine program is expected to cost up to AU$368 billion ($244.77 billion) over the next three decades.
Under the terms of Australia's deal with the U.S. and the U.K., the Australian government will take three, likely second-hand Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines by the early 2030s, pending the U.S. Congress' approval of the deal. Australia will also be given the option to purchase another two nuclear submarines.
In the meantime, Sunak, Biden and Albanese recommitted their nations to the development of a next-generation attack submarine, known as SSN-AUKUS. This new submarine will be "leveraging" work the British have already been doing to replace their own submarines and will also use American combat systems. It is intended to be the primary submarine of the British and Australian navies.
One submarine will be built every two years beginning in the early 2040s through the late 2050s. The Royal Australian Navy is set to have at least five SSN-AUKUS submarines in operation by the middle of the 2050s.
Current Australian plans are for the nation's navy to include at least eight Australian submarines built in Adelaide by the 2060s.
As part of the security agreement with AUKUS, Australia has also agreed to host a "rotational force" of five British and American submarines at a naval base in Western Australia.
This new agreement builds off of an earlier agreement announced in 2021 that saw Australian sailors and engineers being trained by their British and American counterparts in anticipation of future Australian submarine acquisitions.
"AUKUS has one overriding objective: To enhance the stability of the Indo-Pacific amid rapidly shifting global dynamics," said Albanese, who confirmed that America was already training Australian navy personnel on how to man nuclear-powered submarines.
"I am proud to confirm that they are all in the top 30 percent of their class," said Albanese. "This will be an Australian sovereign capability, commanded by the Royal Australian Navy and sustained by Australians in Australian shipyards."
Learn more about the threat posed by China at CommunistChina.news.
Watch this episode of "China In Focus" from NTD as host Tiffany Meier discusses Australia's plan to purchase U.S. nuclear-powered submarines and China's hostile reaction to it.