Biden announces Indo-Pacific Alliance with Australia, UK

Wednesday's announcement by President Joe Biden that the United States will form an Indo-Pacific security alliance along with Australia and Britain that will increase defense cooperation, including providing submarines for Australia.

Biden announces Indo-Pacific Alliance with Australia, UK

This move could deepen the growing gap between U.S. and China relations.

Biden announced the news alongside Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, and Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister. They joined Biden by video to announce the new alliance, which will go by the name AUKUS (pronounced "AWK-us"). They announced that they would soon be focusing on developing nuclear-powered submarines to assist Australia.

Biden stated that "We all recognize and support the imperative to ensure peace and stability over the Indo-Pacific long-term." He also said that the new alliance is a reflection of a wider trend of European partners playing a part in the Indo-Pacific. "We must be able address both the existing strategic environment and its potential future."

In their remarks, none of the leaders mentioned China. The new alliance for security is likely to be seen by Beijing as a provocative move. Beijing has repeatedly criticized Biden's attempts to refocus U.S. Pacific policy in the early days of his presidency.

A senior administration official tried to downplay the notion that the alliance was intended to be a deterrent to China in the region before the announcement. An anonymous official spoke out to preview the announcement and said that the creation of the alliance was not intended to target any particular country but is part of a larger effort by the three countries to maintain engagement and deterrence within the Indo-Pacific.

Johnson stated that the alliance would allow three English-speaking maritime democracies, all English-speaking, to strengthen their bonds and focus more on a complex part of the globe.

Johnson stated that "We will have a unique opportunity to strengthen Britain's position at the forefront of science and technology, strengthening the national expertise, but perhaps most importantly, the U.K. and Australia will be joined even closer together.

These three countries have agreed that they will share information in areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber- and underwater defense capabilities.

Beijing will be interested in Australia's plans to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. The United States has not shared nuclear propulsion technology yet with Britain. Morrison stated that Australia does not seek to develop nuclear weapons and that information sharing would only be used to help it build a submarine fleet.

According to the Australian prime minister, plans for nuclear-powered submarines will be developed in the next 18 months. The vessels will be built in Adelaide.