Aukus: One Year On

2022-November-24 18:37 By:

It has been a year since the Aukus deal, a new trilateral defense partnership including Australia, the US and the UK, was announced. For Aukus, the first year has been one of endless troubles and criticisms.

Recently, former Australian Prime Minister Paul John Keating bluntly pointed out that the cliques and alliances the US has formed are primarily serving its Indo-Pacific strategy, and that it is high time Australia withdrew from such partnerships. Keating also urged Australia to give up on plans that involve purchasing submarines from the US and the UK, saying such cooperation will do no good to Australian defense but only increases the risk of military conflicts with China. A recent article published by Lowy Institute, an Australian international policy think tank, also slammed Australia government for trying to get nuclear-powered submarines from the US and the UK at any cost.

Aukus has greatly harmed the interests of Australian people by causing massive unemployment. Before the deal was struck, 60% of France’s submarine projects were to be carried out in Australia, which would involve over 600 Australian contractors. However, it is prescribed in Aukus that submarine hulls should all be transported to reactors and operative systems in the US and the UK, excluding a large number of Australian companies. In a joint letter to the government, the Australian Worker’s Union and other organizations warned the authorities that backing out of the partnership with France could lead to a loss of over 1,000 job opportunities. In June, France and Australia reached agreement on the cancellation of the $63.5-billion deal. Australia would have to pay 555 million euros, and in the end, the money will come out of the pockets of ordinary Australian people.

Aukus can also jeopardize regional stability. Many Southeast Asian countries have expressed their concerns. A researcher at Indonesia’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, for example, said that the trilateral partnership could expose certain regions to risks of nuclear proliferation. Aukus is undoubtedly posing danger to regional peace and stability in many aspects. Australia’s possession of nuclear submarines will spark regional arms race and greatly disturb the hard-won regional peace.

Moreover, Aukus also poses great threat to the international non-proliferation regime. By helping Australia, a country without nuclear weapons, build eight nuclear submarines, the US and the UK are challenging the authority and effectiveness of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Whilst slamming the nuclear program of Iran, the US and the UK are nonetheless helping Australia acquire highly enriched uranium of over 90%, far exceeding the 3.67% standard for Iran.

Aukus has exposed the Asia-Pacific region to high risks of nuclear proliferation. During the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, China sharply criticized the trilateral partnership between the US, the UK and Australia. Many other countries also expressed their concerns over this deal. Such a clique is a product of Cold-War mentality, and the international community should jointly combat such maneuvers to better promote peace and stability.

Contributed by Gongxin

Translated by Wang Jinhong

Editor: WJH
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