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Aukus nuclear submarine plan unveiled by US, UK, Australia leaders

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Plan to provide Aukus nuclear submarines unveiled by US, Britain, Australia leaders

Canberra will purchase up to five conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines starting in the early 2030sPlan comes 18 months after allies announced new trilateral security pact that has angered BeijingUS-China relationsMark Magnierin New YorkPublished: 4:01am, 14 Mar, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Australia will purchase up to five conventionally armed, nuclear-powered US submarines starting early in the 2030s followed a decade later by production of a new class of “SSN Aukus” nuclear-powered submarines developed in concert with the US and Britain to counter China’s growing regional footprint, leaders of the three countries announced on Monday.The formal declaration by President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese comes 18 months after the nations unveiled the Aukus military alliance, stoking Beijing’s ire.

Biden on Monday stressed that the vessels were nuclear-powered but not nuclear-armed. China has repeatedly accused the alliance of weakening nuclear non-proliferation objectives.

“These boats will not have any nuclear weapons of any kind of them,” Biden said against a backdrop of US naval vessels and nuclear submarines at an outdoor ceremony at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego. “We’re going to be the best in the world.”

In an aside to reporters a short while later, Biden said he was not worried that China would see Aukus as aggressive, adding that he would speak with President Xi Jinping soon, without indicating when.

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