Recently, the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia “Ocus” three countries held a formal meeting and announced the detailed plan for nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries. According to the plan, through purchase and cooperative research and development, Australia will become the seventh country in the world to have nuclear submarines, and will have an underwater formation composed of 8 nuclear submarines in 2055, which will also become Australia’s “history” Most Expensive Defense Project”.
After the release of the plan, it attracted a lot of attention. The so-called “Ocus” countries, the United States, Britain and Australia, continue to promote the process of nuclear submarine cooperation in spite of the serious concerns and opposition of the international community for the self-interest of the “small circle”, which is seriously detrimental to international and regional security and stability. The US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation is regarded by experts in related fields as “textbook-level nuclear proliferation”, which poses a major challenge to the already fragile international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism and fully exposes the “small circle” of “Ocus” with a strong Cold War color It has become the biggest source of risk to international nuclear safety.
Obsessed with obsession
In 2021, Australia tore up the high-value submarine order signed with France, and instead announced the establishment of a trilateral security partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom and carried out nuclear submarine cooperation. At one point, France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia. In November of that year, the United States, Britain, and Australia signed the “Navy Nuclear Power Information Exchange Agreement”, allowing Australia to obtain highly confidential nuclear submarine information from the United States and Britain; The panel examines in detail the key issues involved in building a nuclear submarine in Australia.
In March 2022, Australia issued a statement stating that a new submarine base will be built on the east coast of Australia to dock Australia’s future nuclear submarines, while ensuring regular visits by US and British nuclear submarines. The base is expected to cost more than 10 billion Australian dollars, and it is the first major new military installation in Australia in recent years. In July of that year, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Maritime Power and Projection Power proposed the Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Transfer Act, allowing the Australian Navy to send officers to participate in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine officer training course every year and enter the U.S. nuclear submarine for internships to familiarize themselves with relevant operating procedures.
According to the latest cooperation plan announced by the United States, Britain and Australia, the United States will provide Australia with three Virginia-class attack nuclear submarines in the early 2130s, and may provide another two according to the situation. Later, the three countries will also cooperate to develop a new type of nuclear submarine and produce it in Australia. However, due to the lack of infrastructure, Australia was not expected to receive this type of nuclear submarine built in the country until the early 1940s.
Internal and external difficulties, unpopular
Since the United States, Britain and Australia announced the launch of nuclear submarine cooperation, the international community has raised doubts, condemnations and opposition. At the international level, the IAEA Board of Governors and the General Assembly have set up separate official topics for seven consecutive times to discuss issues related to nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries. At the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, many countries also expressed serious concerns about trilateral cooperation.
At the national level in the region, Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as countries in the South Pacific region such as Kiribati and Samoa have expressed high concern about trilateral cooperation on different occasions. New Zealand has repeatedly reiterated its “non-nuclear policy” and made it clear that it will not participate in the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation. Recently, New Zealand Prime Minister Hipkins once again reminded Australia that according to the “South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty” that came into force in the 1980s, Australian nuclear submarines will not be allowed to enter New Zealand’s territorial waters in the future.
In the United States and the United Kingdom, there are also endless voices of opposition to the cooperation between the three countries on nuclear submarines. Alan Cooperman, the director of the US “Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project” and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and many other experts jointly wrote to the US President, expressing serious concerns that the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation will undermine the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Some British media also pointed out that the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation has the risk of nuclear material and nuclear technology proliferation, which will impact the global nuclear non-proliferation mechanism.
According to the so-called “roadmap”, what Australia got after spending 245 billion U.S. dollars is only a few “second-hand” submarines from the United States and new submarines that are full of uncertainties in research and development and production. You must know that 245 billion US dollars is equivalent to about two years of public medical expenditure in Australia. This kind of unreasonable huge expenditure will eventually affect the daily life of the Australian people. Australia, which hangs alone in the South Pacific, gave up its geographical advantage of being far away from hot issues, and built a nuclear submarine formation that obeys the interests of the United States, pushing itself to the forefront, which also caused huge controversy in Australia.
Former Australian Prime Minister Keating issued a statement saying that the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine deal is the worst decision made by the Australian Labor Party in more than a century. Keating said: “It is not a good sight for our country to sign an agreement with another country (the United States) to serve their preferences, followed by the mindless British.” In an interview, Kusa also pointed out that the nuclear submarines bought by Australia with huge sums of money will not bring security guarantees, but will become “flashy cumbersome”.
To deceive the world and steal the name, to bring disaster to the world
Faced with many doubts at home and abroad, US President Biden declared that although Australia purchased nuclear-powered submarines, they would not be equipped with nuclear weapons. This justification is undoubtedly pale. In fact, the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation has set a dangerous precedent for the transfer of weapons-grade nuclear materials from nuclear-weapon states to non-nuclear-weapon states, and is a blatant act of nuclear proliferation.
This irresponsible move by the United States, Britain and Australia seriously violates the purpose and purpose of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, poses a great legal and technical challenge to the current safeguards and supervision system of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and damages the Treaty on the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. spirit, undermine the efforts of ASEAN countries to establish a Southeast Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone, and bring hidden dangers and harms in many aspects such as nuclear security, nuclear submarine arms race, and missile technology proliferation, and will also have a profound negative impact on global strategic balance and stability.
The United States, Britain, and Australia have repeatedly argued that they will abide by the so-called highest non-proliferation standards and safeguards and verification standards. “. The real attempt of the three countries is to escape the substantive supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, thereby keeping tons of weapons-grade nuclear materials outside the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. In view of Australia’s ambition and history of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, especially in recent years, Australia’s nuclear argument has once again emerged, the international community must remain highly vigilant against the cooperation of nuclear submarines among the three countries.
The ability of the Asia-Pacific region to become the most dynamic and fastest-growing region in the world is closely related to the peaceful and stable situation created by the cooperation of countries in the region over the past 40 years. The United States, Britain and Australia should listen carefully to the voice of the international community and regional countries, immediately stop dangerous nuclear proliferation, faithfully fulfill international nuclear non-proliferation obligations, and do more things that are conducive to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and world peace and security.