The What's, Who's and How's of the Aukus Agreement
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
On September 15th, 2021, the UK, US and Australia have announced a security pact in the Asia-Pacific, called the Aukus agreement.
What are the terms of the pact?
The two main features of the Aukus Agreement are as follows:
Sharing of information and technology in several areas, such as intelligence (i.e. undercover information gathering) and quantum (i.e. highly advanced) technology.
Construction of nuclear submarines in Adelaide in South Australia, with the country heavily relying on the UK and US for consultation on technology for the production process. It also will make Australia the seventh country in the world that has nuclear submarines.
Who does the pact benefit?
Although it was never clearly stated by either the UK, US or Australia, the pact is viewed as a significant step towards countering the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
In the last few decades, China’s growing power has been challenging US dominance in the Asia-Pacific region. For example, China has built the world's largest navy and became actively involved in the issues of contested areas such as the South China Sea.
To back up Australia’s involvement in the pact, there are plenty of reasons it has chosen the US’s side over China’s. Despite being strong trade partners in the past, Australia’s perception of China has hardened during the last few years. For example, China has been suspected of interfering in Australian politics, as well as of cyber attacks on key institutions.
How did China react?
In response to the deal, Chinese embassy in Washington, US, said the governments involved (aka the US, UK and Australia)" should shake off their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice". Cold War is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but rather is tension created by economic and political actions, propaganda and acts of spying. In other words, the conditions under which the pact operates reminds the Chinese Embassy of the Cold War.