Australia-U.S. Submarine deal could prompt China to expand military capabilities

Australia-U.S. Submarine deal could prompt China to expand military capabilities

An analyst from the consultancy firm Eurasia Group said China has condemned the nuclear submarine deal between the United States, Britain and Australia and that tensions in the Indo-Pacific are likely to intensify.

Ali Wayne, Senior Analyst at Eurasia Group, said: “Given the geography of the region and the security concerns in the region, one can expect discretion to prevail.

“I think right now, of course, military deterrence is going to be more competitive,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Monday.

The United States, Britain and Australia announced a new security partnership last week that aims to boost stability in the Indo-Pacific region. It comes as China continues to expand its military presence and influence in the region.

With this agreement, I think the military balance will move further away from Beijing.

Ali’s wine

Senior Analyst, Eurasia Group

As part of the deal, the US and UK will also help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines, which will allow the Australian Navy to help counter Chinese nuclear-powered ships. In the region.

But a diplomatic crisis erupted.

Following deals with the United States and Britain, Australia canceled another deal to buy conventional submarines from France. The French were angered by the deal and withdrew their ambassadors from the United States and Australia.

China also condemned the deal.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, according to a Reuters report, criticized the three countries for “seriously undermining regional peace and stability, intensifying the arms race and undermining international efforts to non-proliferation”.

Wynne said there was talk of “the balance of military power” in the region “shrinking in favor of Beijing.”

However, he added: “With this agreement, I think the military balance will move a little further away from Beijing.”

The announcement of the security partnership comes as Biden attempts to redefine the United States’ approach to China’s growing power in the wake of the Trump administration’s trade war with the Asian giant, and as the world grapples with the COVID pandemic. It was first discovered in Wuhan, China.

Biden has previously said his approach to China will be different from that of his predecessor and that he will work more closely with allies of the United States to roll back Beijing.

What can Beijing do next?

Australia’s new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines will likely not be delivered until the 2030s, Wynn believes.

In the meantime, China is ready to strengthen its military capabilities, he said.

“I think we can expect the Chinese to step up their military modernization efforts, they want to back down against these efforts,” Wynne said.

As we go along, everyone will now have to hone their skills.

Michel Claire

Professor at Hampshire College

“The question therefore becomes what China will be able to achieve in this decade,” he said. “And this new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines will help with deterrence, starting – let’s go – in the early 2030s.”

Implications for the South China Sea

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, a vast body of water that stretches about 1,200 miles from the Chinese mainland. The sea covers a vast area of ​​1.4 million square miles and is enclosed by eight countries with a combined population of around 2 billion people.

The Asian giant has clashed with other countries over its claims on the South China Sea. The other main competitors for resource-rich waterways are the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

The United States does not claim any part of the South China Sea, but has long promoted “freedom of navigation” by air and sea across the waterway, which Washington has accused Beijing of militarization.

Wynne of Eurasia said the security crisis in the South China Sea was “less likely.”

“But it adds pressure and it presents a risk of miscalculation,” he said.

Wynne’s sentiment is shared by Michael Clare, professor of peace and global security studies at Hampshire College. Clare warned that the security partnership between the US, UK and Australia may not be the “path to peace and stability” in the Indo-Pacific.

“Earlier, there were growing tensions between the United States and China. Tensions were mounting over Taiwan and the South China Sea; The engagement of the US Navy in these areas has intensified, China has responded in this way – so you have military tensions in Asia. Claire told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Tuesday.

“As we go along, everyone has to hone their skills now. “

CNBC’s Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

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