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AUKUS considers security deal with Japan

The US, UK and Australia are engaging “like-minded” defense partners to ensure “stability” in the Indo-Pacific

Japan could soon join the US, UK and Australia in the AUKUS security partnership to facilitate the transfer of military technology in such areas as cyber warfare, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, undersea drones and hypersonic capabilities.

AUKUS was established in 2021 between the US, the UK and Australia. Under the pact’s ‘Pillar 1’, Washington and London pledged to help Canberra obtain nuclear-powered submarines. However, ‘Pillar 2’ is a broader technology-sharing agreement that would potentially involve other countries.

“Recognising Japan’s strengths and its close bilateral defense partnerships with all three countries, we are considering cooperation with Japan on AUKUS Pillar II advanced capability projects,” the allies said in a joint statement on Monday.

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (R) speaks alongside US President Joe Biden during an AUKUS summit in San Diego, California, March 13, 2023
US and UK rushing to expand ‘Asian NATO’ – Politico

However, Australian PM Anthony Albanese claimed that formally AUKUS will remain a three-way pact, with no official membership offered to Japan. “What is proposed is to look at Pillar II of AUKUS and look at, project-by-project, whether there would be engagement, and Japan is a natural candidate for that to occur,” Albanese said on Tuesday.

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida is reportedly expected to discuss the scope of his country’s role in the pact during his meeting with US President Joe Biden this week.

The AUKUS partners maintain that the bloc is not a formal military alliance and is solely focused on technology sharing. In the latest statement they again claimed their goal was to “ensure a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”

Meanwhile, China has condemned the project as an attempt to build an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO,” warning that it would kick off an “arms race” in the region.

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FILE PHOTO: Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Texas SSN 775
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According to a recent Politico report, AUKUS could be expanded by the end of the year to include not only Japan, but also Canada. India, New Zealand, and South Korea have also been floated as potential members.

The White House is allegedly attempting to fast-track Canada and Japan’s membership, according to a diplomat, with Biden “pushing really hard to get some things on AUKUS pillar 2 done now, before the US election.” With elections looming in the UK and Australia next year, London and Canberra are also on board with the rapid expansion planned by Washington. An official working at the British Defense Ministry told Politico that “there is an impetus to get pillar 2 done sooner rather than later.” 

April 10, 2024 at 07:05AM
RT

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