SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Defense Minister Richard Marlis said on Sunday that Australia had “absolutely” not committed to supporting the United States in a military dispute over Taiwan in exchange for a deal to buy nuclear submarines from the attack.
Australia, the United States and Britain unveiled the multi-decade AUKUS project on Monday. Canberra buys US military Virginia-class submarines, Britain and Australia eventually produce and operate a new class of submarines, SSN-AUKUS.
The gouvernement travailliste de center-gauche australien a declaration that the accord of 368 milliards of australian dollars (246 milliards of dollars) it necessaire compte tenu du renforcement militaire de la china in the region, qu’il a qualifié of the most important depuis la World War II.
Asked if Australia pledged to help the United States in a dispute over Taiwan in return for access to the submarines, Marlies told ABC television: “Of course not, and none were sought.”
He said there was “absolutely no” reciprocal obligation for Australia under the deal.
China regards democratically governed Taiwan as its territory and has never given up the option of force to reclaim the island. President Joe Biden said the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of an “unprecedented attack” from China.
Under the AUKUS deal, which has been welcomed by Asian allies but described by Beijing as an act of nuclear proliferation, the United States will sell Australia three submarines, built by General Dynamics, in the early 1990s. 2030, with an option for Australia to buy two more submarines.
Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell said on Sunday he was confident a planned visit to China to meet his counterpart Wang Wentao would go ahead, despite the AUKUS. Farrell said last month that the meeting was a sign that relations between Australia and China were thawing.
He expressed hope that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese would visit China this year, according to a government transcript from his interview with Sky News.
The AUKUS program is set to kick off with an investment of A$6 billion ($4 billion) over the next four years to expand the country’s submarine base and underwater shipyards and train skilled workers.
Australia is also set to provide A$3 billion to boost US and UK shipbuilding capacity, most of which is aimed at increasing production of US Virginia-class submarines.
($1 = 1.4937 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sam McKeith). Editing by Josie Kao and William Mallard
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