søndag 26. september 2021

AUKUS and the South China Sea

The agreement among Australia, the UK and the US for the latter two to supply nuclear-powered-submarine and underwater-drone technology to Australia (AUKUS) has shaken and stirred international relations. It will also fundamentally alter the strategic dynamic in the South China Sea because a major purpose of these submarines will be to prevent China from controlling it.

The South China Sea is one of the most dangerous places on the planet in terms of the potential for war between great powers. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained that his controversial reassurances to Beijing during the administration of former president Donald Trump were necessary because China was afraid the US would attack it there under the guise of its military exercises with aircraft-carrier strike groups.

Defending the AUKUS decision, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said the intent of the arrangement was “to develop Australia’s capability to protect its territories as well as that of friends in the region.”