As he began bilateral discussions in Australia on Friday to oppose Beijing’s expanding influence in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that Washington supports nations opposing Chinese “bullying behavior.
Texas and the U.S. Before annual bilateral talks on Friday and Saturday that would center on a deal to provide Australia, a defense treaty partner, with a fleet of submarines powered by U.S. nuclear technology, Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the Australian city of Brisbane late on Thursday.
Prior to a meeting with Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, Austin stated that both nations are concerned about China’s defiance of international rules and norms that call for peaceful and non-coercive conflict resolution.
Austin, alluding to the People’s Republic of China, told reporters, “We’ve seen troubling P.R.C. coercion from the East China Sea to the South China Sea to right here in the Southwest Pacific.”
He continued, “We’ll continue to support our partners and allies as they defend themselves against bullying behavior.
China has recently put a number of legal and unofficial trade restrictions on Australian exports, including those of timber, coal, wine, barley, beef, and seafood.
Many people believe that the obstacles are a retaliatory measure against Australian government policy, which has cost Australian exporters up to $15 billion annually.
Since the inauguration of a new Australian government last year, Australia’s chilly relationship with Beijing has begun to warm. Meanwhile, the bilateral relationship has been elevated by the disclosure of American nuclear secrets to Australia.
Before the year is up, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese intends to make state visits to China and the United States.
Australia will purchase three Virginia-class submarines from the United States as part of the AUKUS collaboration, which stands for Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and will work with Britain to construct five new AUKUS-class submarines.
The contract would “unacceptably weaken the U.S. fleet” without a plan to strengthen it, according to a letter to President Joe Biden signed by more than 20 Republican senators, according to Australian media.
Albanese declared that he was still “very confident” that the US would send the three submarines.
The prime minister claimed that his conversations with Republicans and Democrats earlier in July at a NATO meeting in Lithuania had given him comfort. The unanimity of their support for AUKUS and the alliance between Australia and the United States particularly struck Albanese, he added.
Marles concurred that the AUKUS plan was on course.
The passage of legislation through Congress can be difficult, but Marles said, “We’re actually encouraged by how quickly it’s going through, and we’re expecting that there will be lots of discussions on the way through.”
Fundamentally, we have established an understanding with the Biden administration around how Australia will be able to get nuclear-powered submarine capability, and we’re moving forward with speed in that direction, he continued.
Australia would help with the manufacturing of submarines because they recognized that “pressure on the American industrial base” existed.
Australia could spend up to 368 billion Australian dollars ($246 billion) over 30 years as a result of the AUKUS agreement.
Before the three met with Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy, and Australian Ambassador to the United States Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister, Albanese formally greeted Austin and Blinken in a press conference.
“The relationship between Australia and the United States has never been stronger,” Albanese told the two guests.