Biden To Sell Nuclear Submarines To Australia In Anti-China Push

(Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden will announce Australia purchasing several U.S.-manufactured nuclear submarines as a way to update its fleet amid increasing threats from China.

Biden will make the announcement on Monday in San Diego, California, after meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

The latest update to the nuclear partnership, dubbed AUKUS, comes after an 18-month long deliberation process. Notably, the trilateral partnership exports America’s nuclear submarine blueprints to Australia, after having only shared the plans with the U.K.

Biden’s Monday announcement will outline the partnership’s relationship for over a decade that will culminate with the deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine in Australia, Sullivan said. (RELATED: Biden Announces New Trilateral Partnership To Help Australia Acquire Nuclear Powered Submarines)

There will be a “delivery of three Virginia-class subs from the United States to Australia” in the 2030s “with the possibility of going up to five” subs, Sullivan said. The 2030s will also bring the “a new conventionally armed nuclear powered submarine, the SSN AUKUS,” which will have significant investments from all three countries.

The processes to get the subs ready will begin “immediately, with the training of Australian sailors, engineers, technicians and other personnel,” Sullivan continued.

On China, Sullivan said the strategy is “not to provoke, not to go and try to fight wars,” but to show that “the United States has played a historic role for decades in the Indo-Pacific to help ensure peace and stability.”

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 05: In this handout image provided by the Australian Defence Force, Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Rankin is seen during AUSINDEX 21, a biennial maritime exercise between the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy on September 5, 2021 in Darwin, Australia. Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have announced a new strategic defence partnership – known as AUKUS – to build a class of nuclear-propelled submarines and work together in the Indo-Pacific region. The new submarines will replace the Royal Australian Navy’s existing Collins submarine fleet. (Photo by POIS Yuri Ramsey/Australian Defence Force via Getty Images)

Australia does not currently have any nuclear weapons and has not announced any intention to acquire possession, but the submarines would offer the island a means of greater deterrence from a growing Chinese threat in the region, including towards Taiwan.

China argued that Australia’s acquisition of the nuclear submarines would violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“We urge the US, the UK and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum games, honour international obligations in good faith, and do more things that are conducive to regional peace and stability,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Mao Ning said, Al Jazeera reported.