Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) Military Deal: The concern of nuclear threat in South East Asia region

Recently on the month of September 15, Australia government had confirmed a trilateral deal with United Kingdom and the United States. The Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) deal had given Australia such nuclear-powered submarines. The trilateral deal seems still unclear in viewing on Australia’s security concern in Australia-New Zealand region or in South East Asia region, which is its closest neighbor’s region as Australia seems so far do not have such military threat from other countries within the said regions. However, the AUKUS seems to more related with the west strategic security interests in the Asia-Pacific region. The military capability in Australia is important within the Asia-Pacific region as geopolitically Australia is the United States’ closest ally and the second furthest state from the United States’ main rival in the said region, China. 

Despite of this agreement, most of the international community condemned it negatively. The first country who reacted was France. President Macron stated that the trilateral deal had given equivalent of 65 billion USD from an existing deal of Australia-France submarine deal.[1] Other than France, other United States allies also concern with the news such as India which questioning the United States’ policy on sharing its nuclear program to other country and its European Union (EU) partners on defending France’s side who felt betrayed by Australia.

Meanwhile, its closest region, which is South East Asia also had increased its concern on its nuclear-powered submarines deal. Recently, the Australia government had discussed with Malaysia’s Minister of Transportation Dr. Wee pertaining to the ports and sea transportation issue, and AUKUS.[2] He emphasized the importance for Australia government to give more clear explanation pertaining to the AUKUS deal in order to lesser the concern among countries within the Asia-Pacific region. Thus, Dr. Wee also stated Malaysia’s principle on holding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ).

The existence of higher military capability in Australia seems to definitely will reducing the China’s security in Asia-Pacific region. In applying security dilemma concept, the increasingly military and security interests of the United States in the Asia-Pacific will reduce increase its rival’s security threat in the said region. According to the particular concept, this will cause China to increase its military forces within the Asia-Pacific region as they receiving higher threat. In other words, the South East Asia region as one of the area within the Asia-Pacific region seems to significantly increase its role in either with the United States or China. Its probability on either choice might depend on the states’ relation with both the United States and China as both states seem to use closer relation as its strategic security interests.

[1] See Acosta, J., Atwood, K., & Vazquez, M. (2021, Sept 18). France recalls its ambassadors to the US and Australia over new national security partnership. Retrieved from CNN Date of access: Sept 21, 2021.

[2] See The Star. (2021, Sept 20). Australia urged to engage its Asia Pacific region partners to address Aukus nuclear-powered submarine concerns. Retrieved from Date of access: Sept 21, 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *