By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
LONDON (Worthy News)— The United States, Britain, and Australia announced a special security pact Wednesday, just hours after the European Union’s chief hinted at setting up an EU army operating outside the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.
The pact focuses on advanced defense technologies to counter China, the three countries said.
Their partnership would enable Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time.
The pact, known as AUKUS, will also cover artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and cyber.
U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison confirmed the agreement in a statement.
“The UK, Australia, and the U.S. are natural allies – while we may be separated geographically, our interests and values are shared,” Johnson said.
“The AUKUS alliance will bring us closer than ever, creating a new defense partnership and driving jobs and prosperity,” he added.
The three countries are worried about China’s growing power and military presence in the Indo-Pacific.
As a result of the pact, Australia has scrapped a deal to build French-designed submarines.
France won a massive $50 billion contract to build 12 submarines for the Australian Navy in 2016. The deal was Australia’s largest-ever defense contract.
However, the project was delayed mainly because of Canberra’s requirement that many components be sourced locally. Those objections were apparently overcome with this agreement.
“This partnership will become increasingly vital for defending our interests in the Indo-Pacific region and, by extension, protecting our people back at home,” Johnson said.
However, the announcement’s timing came just hours after the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive, made clear the 27-nation bloc would soon set up its army.
Ursula von der Leyen clarified that the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan underscored the need for EU forces operating outside the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.
Britain opposes an EU army, and its new defense alliance with the U.S., and Australia suggested it wanted to remain a strategic ally of Washington.
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