Britain will dispatch a fleet of nuclear submarines to China.
The dramatic decision could see Britain submarines based in Australia until 2040, operating within striking distance of China. This is a bold gesture to counter Chinese aggressiveness in the Pacific.
While the deployment is seen as a warning to China in the Asia-Pacific region; the move is part of AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and the United States) security alliance.
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Australia can now operate nuclear-powered submarines. In addition, they may even build them thanks to a landmark deal between the United States, the UK, and Australia.
This cooperation effort is a reflection, in part, of the continued focus on and significance of the Indo-Pacific region; as well as the pressing need for resources and assets to address anticipated issues in the region.
It also demonstrates the readiness of the United States to modify its initial stance on naval nuclear propulsion technology; and start sharing technology that serves a variety of objectives among a group of allies.
Next week, during a naval conference in Sydney, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the chief of the armed forces, is anticipated to sign the agreement.
Admiral Radakin will meet a number of Australian officials, including recently reappointed Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell. In Sydney, he will attend the Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defence conference; and meet counterparts from South-East Asia and the south-west Pacific.
According to sources, Admiral Radakin was “ambitious” about increasing the UK’s military presence in the Indo-Pacific despite the conflict in Ukraine. His trip was the first of several by UK security officials and ministers to the region.
The UK’s audacious decision to send several submarines on patrol in the South China Sea will be its most aggressive step yet against Beijing.
The submarines will be based in Perth.