On 16 September the Prime Minister made a statement on the new military alliance with Australia and the US. Responding to concerns about China’s response, the Prime Minister said the partnership “is not intended to be adversarial towards any other power.”

China and other states in the region disagreed with the PM’s statement.

AUKUS “has seriously undermined regional peace and stability”. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, went on to say that the announcement has “intensified the arms race and undermined international non-proliferation efforts.”

China accused the UK, US and Australia of double standards over nuclear non-proliferation and of holding on to a “Cold War mentality.”

Indonesia and Malaysia also fear this agreement will start a new arms in the region. Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said the project could “provoke other powers to take more aggressive action in this region, especially in the South China Sea.” The Indonesian government issued a statement saying that it viewed the pact “cautiously” and was “deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region.”

CND believes this new alliance is a dangerous escalation in the West’s ongoing confrontation with China, one which risks nuclear proliferation and is in breach of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

We are asking MPs to sign Early Day motion 493: US-UK-Australia Military pact which urges the government to withdraw from the treaty and abide by the NPT.

Defence Committee takes evidence from Australia and Japan on the new AUKUS military deal

On 21 September, the Defence Committee, as part of its Inquiry into the Navy’s future purpose and procurement, examined the Navy’s role in the Indo-Pacific – in particular the AUKUS alliance with Australia and the US. It took evidence from former Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Professor Tetsuo Kotani at Meikai University.

A parliamentary debate was held in October on AUKUS and the impact on Anglo-Chinese Relations.

A number of members raised the issue of proliferation, including the SNP as can be seen in the following exchange:

Drew Hendry MP (SNP) “By giving Australia access to sensitive technology in the form of nuclear-powered submarines … is tacitly encouraging nuclear proliferation, which we in the Scottish National Party are morally, economically, environmentally and strategically against.”

Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown MP (Conservative) “If these submarines are going to carry nuclear weapons, he would possibly have a case, but these are nuclear powered submarines, and nuclear power is a relatively well-known technology that is certainly not covered by the treaties.”

Drew Hendry (SNP) “The hon. Gentleman would make that point, and that would be his defence; I would expect him to do that. However, the fact is that there will be nuclear weapons – nuclear-powered submarines – patrolling as a result of this deal. That is a matter of fact.