On the eve of the summit of the Australia-UK-U.S. Trilateral Security Agreement (AUKUS Alliance), British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised on Monday (March 13) to increase British defense spending by 5 billion pounds, or about 6 billion U.S. dollars, over the next two years in response to Threats from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s “epoch-making challenge.”
The Associated Press reported that the increase in defense spending was smaller than military officials had hoped for as part of a major update to Britain’s foreign and defense policy. Britain’s longer-term plan is to raise military spending to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, Sunak said, but did not set a date. Britain currently spends just over 2% of GDP on its military. Military officials hope it can rise to 3 percent.
Prime Minister Sunak said the extra spending over the next two years would partly be used to replenish ammunition stocks depleted by Britain’s support for Ukraine in the fight against Russia. Others are used in the plan agreed by Australia, Britain and the United States to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.
Sunak will meet U.S. President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Albanese in San Diego, California, on Monday to confirm future steps for the trilateral security agreement (AUKUS). In the face of China’s aggressive posture and actions in the Pacific region, Australia, Britain and the United States will reach a security plan to build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia in 2021.
In 2021, the United Kingdom formulated an integrated review report (Integrated Review) for national defense, security and foreign policy. The review was then ordered by the British government at a time when Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine disrupted European security and Britain grew increasingly uneasy about the “epochal challenge” posed by China’s increasingly aggressive military, financial and diplomatic activities. Updated in response to an increasingly volatile global situation.
The Associated Press said that British intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned about China’s military power, covert operations and economic strength. Ken McCallum, head of MI5, Britain’s domestic security intelligence agency, said in November that China’s activities posed the most game-changing strategic challenge to Britain. But Prime Minister Sunak’s simultaneous emphasis on the need to continue developing economic ties with China has angered some of the more hawkish members of the ruling Conservative Party.
The British concern has prompted a government-wide compensatory effort on China, including Mandarin-language training for British officials and a push to secure new sources of key rare minerals critical to technology.
Sunak said on the way to the United States that China poses an “epoch-making challenge” to the United Kingdom and the global order. But he added that given the size of the Chinese economy, it was impossible to ignore China.
He said it was right to engage China on issues where it could find common ground and make a difference, such as climate change, global health, macroeconomic stability, etc., while staunchly defending British values and interests Methods.
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CNN reported that details of the trilateral security agreement (AUKUS) will be revealed on Monday at a joint press conference between the leaders of the UK, US and Australia. The three countries are expected to announce that Australia will buy at least four “Virginia-class” nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and then build several modified versions of Britain’s Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines. Submarines, and in the second phase, equipped with American combat systems and weapons. The deal is seen as a counterweight to China’s military ambitions in the Pacific.
According to reports, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning reiterated his opposition to the Australia-UK-U.S. trilateral security agreement at a regular press conference last Thursday, saying it would seriously increase the risk of nuclear proliferation and trigger an arms race that would destabilize the Asia-Pacific region.
The office of Australian Prime Minister Albanese told CNN on Monday that the plan to build nuclear-powered submarines will directly create 30,000 jobs for Australia in the next 30 years and is expected to cost $133 billion.
During a visit to India on Saturday, Albanese said the plan was about creating jobs and the South Australian port city of Adelaide in particular would be a big beneficiary, as well as Western Australia.
Albanese also emphasized that this is also about enhancing Australia’s military capabilities, and building nuclear-powered submarines in Australia is definitely Australia’s priority. He also briefed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Australia-UK-U.S. trilateral security plan.