Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden held a virtual news conference on Wednesday to unveil their new joint partnership on advanced defense-tech sharing.
Morrison revealed in his address that the first major initiative of the new trilateral security partnership – dubbed AUKUS – will be to deliver Australia its first nuclear-powered submarine fleet.
The Australian Prime Minister detailed that the trio will take the next 18 months to decide the “best way to achieve this.”
“We intend to build these submarines in Adelaide, Australia, in close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States,” Morrison added.
“But let me be clear,” he said. “Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons [nor] establish nuclear capability. And we will continue to meet all our nuclear non-proliferation obligations.”
Later in the joint, virtual news conference, Johnson proclaimed that the UK has chosen to embark on the trilateral security partnership with the US and Australia to make the world safer and generate more jobs in the UK.
Biden closed out the event, touting the strength of ally bonds across the globe. He noted that when it comes to the Indo-Pacific, France already has a “substantial” presence and plays a key role in strengthening the security and prosperity of the region.
The US president highlighted that the overarching goal of AUKUS is to ensure allies have modern capabilities to properly defend against “rapidly evolving threats.”
He also emphasized that Australia’s future nuclear submarine fleet will not be armed with nuclear weapons.
“We’re not talking about nuclear-armed submarines, these are conventionally-armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors,” Biden asserted.