Recently, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced the details of the “Ocus” agreement. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation recently reported that as part of the “Ocus” agreement, Australia will receive three “Virginia” class nuclear submarines built by the United States. Subsequently, the project was strongly opposed by the local people in Australia, because they did not want to be involved in the game between China and the United States. Reuters also stated that the “nuclear submarine plan” announced by the United States, Britain and Australia was aimed at China. What the outside world is most worried about is that Australia will be involved in disputes across the Taiwan Strait.
And in a program of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, when asked whether the acquisition of these three nuclear submarines means that Australia is committed to supporting the United States against China in a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait in the future, Mars said, “Of course the answer is no.” , and no one has sought such a commitment from the Australian side. “I have listened to the speculation of many commentators. This is obviously wrong … I can’t be more clear.” He also said that the “Ocus” agreement will enable Australia to protect the Indo-Pacific region for trade. key sea lanes. “It is entirely in Australia’s interest to uphold the rules-based order, freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, and we need to ensure we have the capacity to protect that interest.”
In recent years, the Australian Navy has developed rapidly. After ordering two “Canberra” class amphibious assault ships from Spain, Australia joined the “Ocus” cooperation organization and signed the “Navy Nuclear Power Information Exchange Agreement” with the United Kingdom and the United States , According to the original plan, the United States and the United Kingdom will build attack nuclear submarines for Australia, and in order to provide nuclear submarines to Australia faster, the United States directly took out the active “Virginia” class nuclear submarines. This will lead to drastic changes in the strength of the Australian Navy in the short term and break the strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific.
The current plan of the three parties is that the United States will sell three US “Virginia” class nuclear submarines to Australia, and may sell two more in the future. The Australian Navy will receive its first Virginia-class nuclear submarine as early as 2033. As a type of attack nuclear submarine, the “Virginia” class itself can pose a great threat to our country’s aircraft carrier battle group, and the “Virginia” class also has ground strike capabilities. This type of submarine has 12 vertical launch systems, which can launch The “Tomahawk” cruise missile for ground strikes, which will lead to the Australian Navy gaining a stand-off strike capability.
Although Australia also wants to improve its naval strength, these three nuclear submarines are really hot potatoes for Australia. Because Australia is not a nuclear-armed country, and the United States has a very developed nuclear industry, the “Virginia” class nuclear submarines directly use weapons-grade enriched uranium. It has become a nuclear power, and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons stipulates that attack nuclear submarines are not restricted by the treaty if they use reactors with uranium enrichment concentrations below 3.5%. Therefore, the arms trade between Australia and the United States has seriously violated the restrictions of the treaty.
So on the 13th of last month, after the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia met and announced the details of cooperation, on the 14th, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marrs quickly stated that Australia had made more than 60 phone calls around last week. He informed the countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, including China, of the nuclear submarine cooperation plan among the three countries, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, and declared that “there is no reply from China.”
In fact, my country expressed its position on Australia’s behavior at the March Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency in March. Li Song, the Chinese representative, stated that the cooperation between the US, Britain and Australia on nuclear submarines poses a serious risk of nuclear proliferation and impacts the international nuclear non-proliferation system. , stimulating an arms race and undermining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region has been widely questioned and opposed by countries in the region and the international community. China urges the US, UK, and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, faithfully fulfill their international obligations, and do more things that are conducive to regional peace and stability.