How Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison ALL failed to mention China in nuclear sub briefing
Australia’s new alliance with the US and Britain to build nuclear-powered submarines and beef up security in the Pacific is all about one thing – the rise of China.
But as Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared the stage, all took great pains not to mention the Asian superpower.
Not a single mention of China, Chinese, or Beijing was uttered in the 12-minute joint press conference on Thursday morning, nor in any official statements.
The closest they got was referring to ‘the Indo-Pacific region’.
However, the panda in the room was visible for all to see, with numerous veiled allusions to the authoritarian regime and its expansionism in the region.
Why Australia needed a new deal with the UK and the US. Australia’s Defence capabilities are dwarfed by those of China
‘We have always believed in a world that favours freedom, that respects human dignity – the rule of law, the independence of sovereign states and the peaceful fellowship of nations,’ Mr Morrison, who spoke first, said.
‘Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region – the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures.’
Mr Johnson was more guarded in his words, merely mentioning the three nations’ ‘shared values of freedom and democracy’ and their desire to ‘preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific’.
President Biden took the most swipes at America’s biggest rival, stressing the need for peace and emerging threats in the region.
‘We all recognise the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long-term,’ he said.
‘We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve.
‘Because the future of each of our nation, and indeed, the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific, enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead.’
China has inflamed tensions in the South China Sea in recent years by expanding its claimed territory, to the objection of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison pictured centre during a virtual press conference on Thursday morning with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden at which the AUKUS alliance was announced
Mr Biden implied the triumvirate would not be the only Western powers joining in an attempt to contain China and its designs regional domination.
‘This effort reflects a broader trend of key European countries playing an extremely important role in the Indo-Pacific,’ he said.
He also paid homage to China’s rapidly expanding military capability that Western allies are struggling to keep pace with.
‘This initiative is about ensuring that each of us had as a modern capability, the most modern capabilities to defend against rapid threats,’ he said.
The alliance will see Australia build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet in Adelaide to counter the deeply-worrying rise of China in the Pacific.
The submarines will not be armed with nuclear weapons.
The increasingly belligerent and hostile behaviour of the Chinese Communist state led by dictator Xi Jinping is clearly the motivator for the initiative.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday morning unveiled Australia’s plan to build its own submarine fleet alongside US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
President Xi Jinping and other Communist party loyalists have already voiced their ambitions of annexing the democratic US and Japan-backed island. Pictured: People’s Liberation Army tanks are seen in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during a National Day parade celebrating the 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China
In August, a panel of Asian foreign policy experts warned a military conflict is ‘likely’ to erupt over the disputed island of Taiwan in the next five to 10 years
China‘s military has become increasingly confident it could fend off a response from western powers.
Beijing has been aggressively engaged in a program of military and strategic expansion in the Pacific in recent years, causing major concerns for many nations but especially South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia.
Australia’s once-rosy bilateral relationship marked by Panda diplomacy and close business links has crumbled in the wake of the Covid pandemic, with China imposing increasingly punitive sanctions on Australian products.
Mr Morrison demanded an inquiry into the origins of the Covid pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, infuriating Beijing.
The dictatorship imposed arbitrary bans and trade tariffs on billions of dollars worth of key Australian exports including barley, wine, beef, cotton, seafood, coal, cobber and timber.
China has also repeatedly mocked Australia in recent times and in November its foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao tweeted a vile fake image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child.
The move towards a nuclear Australia has been described as ‘China’s worst nightmare’ in a strategic bid to counter its influence in the region – especially in the South China Sea.
Pictured: The Sheean in Tasmania in April. The deal will mean Australia will walk away from its controversial deal to spend up to $90 billion buying French diesel-powered submarines
It is also understood the Indonesian government will be privately furious about the announcement.
Mr Morrison unveiled Australia’s role in a landmark tripartite security group, known by the acronym ‘AUKUS’, to switch to nuclear-powered submarines with help from its two of its biggest allies.
Mr Morrison was joined virtually for the announcement by US President Biden and UK Prime Minister Johnson in a historic joint press conference on Thursday morning, Australian time.
The deal will mean Australia will walk away from its controversial deal to spend up to $90billion buying French diesel-powered submarines.
This is the first time Australia has ever embraced nuclear power after decades of debate – and the first time the US and UK have shared their nuclear submarine technology with another nation.
AUKUS will also allow the three allies to share the latest technology in artificial intelligence, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities.
The move has been described as ‘China’s Worst Nightmare’ in a strategic bid to counter its influence in the region
Pictured: The USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) is seen firing the 5-inch gun for Naval Surface Fire Support during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 in Queensland
Mr Morrison stressed though that Australia is not going to acquire nuclear weapons or use nuclear power to help fuel the national power grid.
Australia has at least 40 per cent of the world’s uranium supplies and the new submarine deal could pave the way for the country to embrace nuclear power to drastically reduce carbon emissions.
The US president meanwhile appeared to briefly forget Mr Morrison’s name at one point during the announcement – referring to him only as ‘that fella Down Under’.
‘Thank you Boris. I want to thank that fella Down Under. Thank you very much pal,’ Mr Biden said.
‘Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region – the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘To meet these challenges, to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level.
‘So AUKUS is born – a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our Defence Forces, are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all.’
Pictured: Chinese ships docked at Garden Island Naval Base in Sydney Harbour in June 2019
Australia will follow its allies the US and UK, which both use nuclear technology, by building its own nuclear-powered submarine fleet
Mr Morrison said the submarines would be built in Adelaide in co-operation with the US and the UK.
He said the deal did not violate Australia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation treaties.
‘This will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world,’ Mr Johnson said.
‘Lasting for decades and requiring the most advanced technology.’
Thursday’s announcement came just days before Mr Morrison travels to Washington DC for the first in-person summit of the four ‘Quad’ nations – Australia, US, Japan and India.
Australia will follow in the path of the US and UK, who both use nuclear technology, amid speculation it would tear up the submarine deal with France.
Senior Australian ministers were involved in a flurry of late-night meetings on the top-secret shipbuilding program on Wednesday, with Anthony Albanese and other senior Labor MPs briefed on the matter.
HMAS Rankin conducts helicopter transfers in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia in February
The Prime Minister reportedly held concerns French-owned shipbuilder Naval Group would be unable to deliver submarines until 2030 with deadline and price disputes.
Mr Morrison is said to have tried to speak with the French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday regarding the new deal.
News of Australia’s decision was instead reportedly disclosed to Paris by the secretary of the Defence Department, Greg Moriarty, the ABC reported.
The Australian Naval Institute has repeatedly criticised the troubled French submarine project while welcoming the use of nuclear technology.
‘With regional tensions increasing, then building our own one-off type submarines which will arrive in the early 2030s is not good enough. We have no guarantee they will work,’ the article stated.
‘When we built the Collins class submarines (at exorbitant expense) they did not work properly for several years.
‘Instead we should buy 12 of a proven design which is already in the water. We want long-range hunter-killer vessels. We also want them to be able to stay submerged for long periods to avoid detection. Nuclear does this in spades.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) made the major security announcement on Thursday morning
It is speculated the US had planned to operate some of its nuclear submarines from Perth’s naval base HMAS Stirling.
The UK, which also uses nuclear technology, is expected to support Australia with the move in the three-nation security pact.
Sources say plan is a move to counter China’s rise in the technology and military sectors.
It is one of a string of initiatives designed to demonstrate Washington’s global role after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Biden will next week host his first in-person summit of leaders of the Quad nations — made up of Australia, India, Japan and the United States — which have been coordinating against China’s growing reach.
‘Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
How China’s feud with Australia has escalated
2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.
April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation.
April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China.
April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.
April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’.
May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China.
May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO.
May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks.
June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.
June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.
June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.
July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.
August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry.
August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China.
October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.
November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.
November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper imports from Australia unofficially banned under a directive from the government, according to reports.
November 18: China releases bizarre dossier of 14 grievances with Australia.
November 27: Australian coal exports to China have dropped 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November as 82 ships laden with 8.8million tonnes of coal are left floating off Chinese ports where they have been denied entry.
November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australia’s $1.2 billion wine exports, claiming they were being ‘dumped’ or sold at below-cost. The claim is denied by both Australia and Chinese importers.
November 30: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians.
December 12: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.
December 24: China suspends imports of Australian timber from NSW and WA after local customs officers say they found pests in the cargo.
January 11, 2021: Australia blocks $300million construction deal that would have seen state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation takeover Probuild. The bid was blacked over national security concerns.
February 5, 2021: China confirms Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August, 2020.
February 23, 2021: China accuses Australia of being in an ‘axis of white supremacy’ with the UK, USA, Canada and NZ in an editorial.
March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by a Communist Party newspaper editor.
March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced he wants the World Trade Organisation to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute.
April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers.
May 6, 2021: China indefinitely suspends all strategic economic talks with Australia, blaming the Morrison Government’s attitude towards the relationship. The move cuts off all diplomatic contact with Beijing under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, freezing discussions between key officials below a ministerial level.
June 22, 2021: China tries to ‘ambush’ Australia with a push to officially declare the Great Barrier Reef ‘in danger’
Mr Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will attend.
She added the leaders will discuss Covid-19, the climate crisis, emerging technologies, and promoting a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ – diplomatic speak for countering China’s ambitions.
Leaders will be focused on deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combatting the pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Bill Hagerty, Republican senator and former ambassador to Japan, welcomed the plan after the ‘debacle’ of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
‘Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal debacle made India’s neighborhood more dangerous & raises legitimate questions for Japan and Australia as well, so it’s good we will be hosting Quad partners soon,’ he said on Twitter.
Officials are increasingly concerned at the way China is laying claim to the South China Sea, ignoring other nations territorial claims (pictured, Chinese troops marching during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing)
‘We must repair & renew our alliances, and this one is key.’
Officials are increasingly concerned at the way China is laying claim to the South China Sea, ignoring other nations territorial claims.
Under current international law Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, China and Taiwan all claim a portion of the South China Sea.
A Congressional report from earlier in July found China ‘gaining effective control’ of the region in recent years, which is rich in oil and natural gas deposits, by increasing their military presence and building up artificial islands.
As a result, the US and allies make frequent ‘freedom of navigation’ voyages through international waters in the region, drawing angry rebukes from Beijing.
SCOTT MORRISON’S ‘AUKUS’ ANNOUNCEMENT IN FULL
Good morning from Australia.
I am very pleased to join two great friends of freedom and of Australia, Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden.
Today, we join our nations in a next generation partnership, built on a strong foundation of proven trust.
We have always seen the world through a similar lens.
We have always believed in a world that favours freedom, that respects human dignity, the rule of law, the independence of sovereign states and the peaceful fellowship of nations.
And while we have always looked to each other to do what we believe is right, we have never left it to each other. Always together, never alone.
Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific.
This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures.
To meet these challenges, to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level.
A partnership that seeks to engage, not to exclude. To contribute, not take. And to enable and empower, not to control or coerce.
And so, friends, AUKUS is born.
A new enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – AUKUS.
A partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our defence forces are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all.
AUKUS will also enhance our contribution to our growing network of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region – ANZUS, our ASEAN friends, our bilateral strategic partners, the Quad, Five Eyes countries and, of course, our dear Pacific family.
The first major initiative of AUKUS will be to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia. Over the next eighteen months we will work together to seek to determine the best way forward to achieve this.
This will include an intense examination of what we need to do to exercise our nuclear stewardship responsibilities here in Australia.
We intend to build these submarines in Adelaide, Australia, in close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States.
But let me be clear, Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability.
And we will continue to meet all our nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
Australia has a long history of defence cooperation with the United States and the United Kingdom.
For more than a century, we have stood together for the cause of peace and freedom.
Motivated by the beliefs we share, sustained by the bonds of friendship we have forged, enabled by the sacrifice of those who have gone before us, and inspired by our shared hope for those who will follow us.
And so, today, friends, we recommit ourselves to this cause and a new AUKUS vision.