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AUKUS: Australia’s huge bet on the US over China.

AUKUS

AUKUS: Australia’s huge bet on the US over China.

By marking the Aukus settlement last week, Australia sent a solid message that it was taking the side of the US over China.

For a country in the Asia-Pacific, it is a definitive move, experts say.

Australia’s defense will be upgraded tremendously by its security deal with UK and now with US.

Australia, UK and US pact. AUKUS.

There is no such thing as free lunch.

Choosing US over China has it’s cost and the debate is whether such decision will work out to Australia’s national interest – for it was made without a public consultation.

 

Shift from the centre ground

As China has filled in power, it has started to challenge US predominance in the Asia-Pacific locale.

China has constructed the world’s biggest naval force and has become progressively emphatic over challenged regions like the South China Sea.

For the longest time, Australia maintained that it did not have to choose between the two of world’s powerful countries, not until the suspected cyber-attacks of China on AU’s key institutions as well as interfering in its politics.

 

Advantages

On that move, a major upgrade on Australia’s defense including access to nuclear-powered subs and long-ranged rockets from US technology.

“All of this is about giving the Australian Defense Force a capable edge in a region where the capability of our own defense force when matched against China is going backwards,” said Richard Maude, a former top Australian security official and now policy director at Asia Society Australia.

Soldier on US Submarine

Disadvantages

Critics argue that because of the AUKUS pact, Australia has given up its strategic ambiguity and made itself a bigger target.

For some, Australia’s decision in the future will be reliant on foreign nuclear technology.

“It will become therefore impossible for the major strike capacity of the Australian navy to operate without a US veto.” says Professor Allan Gyngell, president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

 

Perspective in the region

It already caused some reaction inside the Asean region.

Indonesia has cancelled a meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Malaysia has warned the pact is a “catalyst for a nuclear arms race”.

“Reinforces the idea that the opinions of the Asean members matter little when it comes to the superpowers and how they operate in the region.” – Analyst James Chin, from the University of Tasmania

“In private, the pundits will tell you: ‘We think you Australians are clod-hopping, ham-fisted and culturally insensitive but we don’t dislike what you’re actually doing. We just dislike how you’re doing it – we’d like you to talk to us before you do it so we feel more included and appreciated,'” – Prof Blaxland.

 

Impact

Experts says that Australia mishandled its diplomacy around the pact. It also seriously offended France in abandoning previous submarine deals.

China will not be silent about this pact and will definitely show force.

“We’re used to East Asia being a place of calm in a world. That’s no longer going to be true,” – Prof Gyngell.

 

Article inspired from BBC News

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