SYDNEY – The United States is in talks to sell nuclear submarines to Australia to speed up defense capability building in the face of China’s growing military influence, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Citing Western officials, the newspaper said that under the plan, the United States would provide Australia with “the first number” of nuclear submarines by the mid-2030s. Meanwhile, Australia will develop its own production capacity.
Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom formed an alliance last year to deepen defense ties and facilitate information and technology sharing amid growing competition from China in the Asia-Pacific region.
Under the agreement, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed to help Australia build and operate its own fleet of nuclear-powered submarines by 2040 and expand its military reach.
In a statement on Friday, alliance members reaffirmed their “commitment to Australia acquiring this capability as soon as possible”.
Australia confirmed last week that it will build an industrial base and a skilled workforce to help build and maintain a future fleet of nuclear submarines.
Still, many details are still unresolved. Australia has yet to announce which submarine model will be selected for the partnership or when the new ships will be ready for service.
Australian sailors will be trained by the Royal Navy aboard a nuclear-powered submarine, though no timeline has been revealed.
The security partnership has drawn fierce opposition from China, with officials escalating their concerns to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Beijing argues that the agreement to give Australia nuclear submarine technology violates the international non-proliferation treaty.
IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was pleased with the engagement of allied partners so far, and China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the IAEA was “turning a blind eye to international concerns.” Bloomberg
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/australianz/us-is-in-talks-to-produce-nuclear-submarines-for-australia-report US in negotiations to produce nuclear submarines for Australia: report