UK senior ministers visit Australia to cement trade and defense ties | Aukous

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are due to visit Australia to try to cement security and trade ties following the Aukus deal involving the two countries and the United States. United.

The fact that two key cabinet figures are willing to leave the UK at a time of high domestic political tension, with Boris Johnson’s future as Prime Minister uncertain and amid the threat of a Russian invasion in Ukraine, shows the importance that the Conservative government attaches to the relationship with Australia.

The UK has placed the Indo-Pacific at the center of its post-Brexit foreign and security policy, arguing that the region represents high economic growth this century.

Britain, with its advocacy of free and open seas, has also shown itself – like Australia – willing to disagree with China on issues such as Taiwan and human rights in the world. former British colony of Hong Kong.

In September, the United Kingdom caused a stir when it announced that it was joining the United States and Australia in a new security pact in which the central element was an agreement that the United States would share its technology on how to build and operate nuclear-powered submarines.

The secret deal meant that Scott Morrison’s Australian government canceled its $90 billion contract with the French to build more conventional submarines, prompting Paris to withdraw its ambassadors to Washington and Canberra for consultations, an unprecedented sign of acrimony between allies.

France claimed to have been stabbed in the back by three of its closest allies. Some also argued that Australia, a non-nuclear state, should have unique access to nuclear technology and secrets.

There has been skepticism in parts of the Australian political class as to whether the pact has improved Australian security, as the new submarines could have a longer range and be less detectable but would only be delivered a decade after the French submarines.

But Aukus is intended to be more than a submarine deal and will cover information sharing in a number of technology areas, including artificial intelligence, submarine systems and long-range strike capabilities. , cyber and quantum.

‘Stab in the back’: French ambassador accuses Australia of deception over submarines – video

British ministers are due to meet their Australian counterparts, Foreign Secretary Marise Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton.

Truss said ahead of the visit: “With malevolent forces threatening global peace and stability, it is vital that close allies like the UK and Australia show heightened vigilance in defending freedom and of democracy.

“The Aukus partnership between the UK, Australia and the US is a clear demonstration of how we will uphold our values, protect trade routes and increase stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

Truss is also likely to agree to closer cooperation with Australia to increase opportunities for “honest and reliable” infrastructure investment for Indo-Pacific states, particularly in the energy and of technology.

She will discuss how best to strengthen global technology supply chains and combat malicious actors disrupting cyberspace.

“The UK and Australia share one of the oldest and strongest defense and security alliances,” Wallace said.

“Operating and exercising side by side, we continue to work together to promote stability and address our common threats with our like-minded ally.”

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