The AUKUS project is expected to conclude in the late 2030s and early 2040s with the development and operation of a new submarine fleet by the United Kingdom and Australia, which will feature advanced US technology: Antony Blinken.
Antony Blinken has opened the door for New Zealand
Antony Blinken has opened the door for New Zealand and other nations interested in joining the AUKUS accord, but any participation is likely to put Wellington’s relations with Beijing to the test.
The United States has made it plain that there is an opportunity for New Zealand and other countries to join the AUKUS trilateral defense relationship. The security pact currently includes Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“The door is very much open for New Zealand and other partners to engage as they see fit going forward,” Blinken said during a news conference in Wellington.
“We’ve long collaborated on the most important national security issues.” As a result, as I have stated, the door to collaboration remains open as we continue to develop AUKUS.” Blinken is in New Zealand as part of a three-country Pacific trip.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday that his country was “open to conversations” about participating in AUKUS as long as it did not involve the development of nuclear-powered submarines.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta restated Wellington’s position on Thursday
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta restated Wellington’s position on Thursday, saying the country was “not prepared to compromise or change our nuclear-free position” and that it continued to support a nuclear-free Pacific.
The multi-stage AUKUS project is expected to conclude in the late 2030s and early 2040s with British and Australian construction and operation of a new submarine fleet that will integrate advanced US technologies.
The deal also calls for the deployment of a force of US and British submarines in Australia to help train Australian operators and strengthen deterrence.
The principal US allies in the South Pacific are New Zealand and Australia.
Wellington suffers diplomatic difficulties as a result of its reliance on Beijing as its primary trading partner. Hipkins recently visited Beijing to enhance trade connections between the two countries.
However, participation in the AUKUS accord would undoubtedly put that relationship to the test, as China regards the agreement as destabilizing the area.