Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in a joint statement after the virtual meeting they organized, and the new security partnership understanding called “AUKUS”, which consists of the English abbreviation of the names of the three countries, brought criticism as well.
China, France, the European Union and Indonesia reacted to the agreement, which Prime Minister Morrison defined with the phrases “forever partnership” established in the face of an increasingly difficult strategic environment.
The Green Party of Australia opposed the agreement that would allow the construction of a nuclear submarine in Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, while the main opposition Labor Party announced its conditional support.
Morrison, Australia has no plans to acquire nuclear weapons
At a press conference in the capital, Canberra, Prime Minister Morrison defended the agreement and said, “This road is not a change of mind, but a change of need.”
Emphasizing that they do not have a goal of acquiring nuclear weapons, Morrison said, “This is not about obtaining nuclear weapons. Australia is not interested in this (nuclear weapons), it has no plans for it, it has no policy, it is not on our agenda.” used his statements.
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, who gave his conditional support, said: “We need to know the exact cost of abandoning the current program. We also need to know what the proposed program will cost.” said.
Criticism of “Floating Chernobyls” from the Green Party
Australian Green Party leader Adam Bandt also described the deal as a “misstep” that risks exacerbating tensions with China rather than reducing them.
Criticizing nuclear-powered submarines, citing the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine in which nearly 4,000 people died, Bandt said: “This is a dangerous move that will make Australia less safe by placing floating Chernobyls at the heart of our major cities.” used the phrase.
Rex Patrick, an independent senator and former submarine from the state of South Australia, who called for caution about the new submarine project, said he would seek a Senate inquiry into the matter to ensure transparency.
On the other hand, Paul Keating, who served as Australian Prime Minister from 1991-1996 from the Labor Party, criticized that the agreement could make Australia dependent on the USA.
Reactions from France, the European Union, China and Indonesia
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who evaluated the cancellation of the 90 billion dollars French-designed submarine project signed by the Australian government with the French company in 2016, which envisages the construction of 12 submarines, as “treason”, used the expressions “We were shot in the back”.
The European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy Josep Borrell also criticized that Australia, which is a partner of the EU, did not inform them about the submarine decision.
Stating that the agreement will harm regional peace and stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Cao Licien said, “AUKUS seriously undermines regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race and undermines international nonproliferation efforts.” had spoken.
Calling on the Australian government to maintain its commitment to regional peace and stability, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Indonesia is deeply concerned about the ongoing arms race and power projection in the region.” made a statement.
AUKUS security partnership agreement
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the launch of a new security partnership called “AUKUS” in a joint statement released after their virtual meeting on September 16.
In the statement, it was stated that this country would be supported to enable the Royal Australian Navy to acquire nuclear powered submarines.
It was stated that the nuclear powered submarines to be owned by Australia will support stability in the Indo-Pacific and will be used to contribute to the common values and interests of the countries that are party to the agreement.
It was announced that the deal was made against China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The new partnership agreement also marked the end of the $90 billion French-designed submarine project that the Australian government signed with the French company in 2016, which envisions the construction of 12 submarines.