Biden announces alliance with Britain and Australia on tech and defence

Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines in US-UK-Australia unified pushback against China

President Joe Biden is expected to announce a plan to share advanced technologies in a working group with Britain and Australia. AP
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US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a plan to share advanced technologies in a working group with Britain and Australia in a move to push back against China.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Scott Morrison joined the US president virtually, as Mr Biden spoke from the White House, to announce the trilateral security AUKUS alliance.

Politico, which first reported on the initiative, said Mr Biden will share details of the plan when he addresses the nation on Wednesday.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the plan would see Australia replace its Collins class submarines with nuclear-powered subs using US and British technology.

"Today, we embark on a trilateral effort of 18 months to seek an optimal pathway to deliver this capability," Mr Biden said of the submarines for We will leverage expertise from the United States and the United Kingdom, building on the two countries’ submarine programs to bring an Australian capability into service at the earliest achievable date.

The White House said the president would “deliver brief remarks about a national security initiative" and in Britain, Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to make a televised statement on a "strategic national security matter" alongside Mr Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The working group, to be known as Auukus, will enable the three countries to share information in areas including artificial intelligence, cyber threats, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities, a White House official and a congressional staffer said.

As part of the pact, the US and UK will share their knowledge of how to maintain nuclear-defence infrastructure, one of the sources said.

Both characterised the plan as a move by western allies to counter China’s rise in the military and technology sectors.

Updated: September 15, 2021, 10:28 PM