Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles confirms that Australia has not planned to give any commitment to join the US top security ally in a potential future war over the status of Taiwan, reported the Guardian. With this statement, Marles defended Australia’s multi-decade plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines, with help from the US and the UK. The total cost of the plan is $368 billion between now and the mid-2050s. The statement by the acting PM of Australia comes after It is to be noted that Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister, reiterated that Taiwan was “part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China” and cautioned regarding the “conflict and confrontation” if the US “does not hit the brake but continues to speed down the wrong path”.
Deputy PM Marles has spoken with Rear Admiral Richard Seif, Commander, Submarine Group, Task Force Seven of the US Navy during a tour of HMAS Stirling in Perth. During the conversation on Sunday, Marlke said China’s rapid military buildup “shapes the strategic landscape in which we live”. Further, the Australian Deputy PM, who is also the defence minister said "The Aukus submarines would back up Australia’s interest in protecting trade and freedom of navigation and flight in the South China Sea", reported The Guardian.
While talking about the defence strategies of Australia, he affirmed that he would not speculate about a future conflict over Taiwan, however, also argued that it was “a completely separate question”. Notably, Taiwan is a self-governed democracy that has 24 million people that China has not ruled out taking by force. So far, the US plan is to sell Australia at least three and as many as five – Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s. This would fill the “capability gap” between the retirement of Australia’s diesel-electric Collins-class submarines and the entry into service of British-designed, as per the Guardian reports. The US is planning to sell Australia at least three – and as many as five – Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s. This attempts to fill the “capability gap” between the retirement of Australia’s diesel-electric Collins-class submarines and the entry into service of British-designed, Australian-built nuclear-powered submarines from the 2040s.
Further, Marles said, “What Australians do in respect of any conflict is always a matter for an Australian government of the day to control, and this doesn’t remove any one ounce of that control.” Further, he argued that Beijing was “seeking to shape the world around it in a way that we’ve not seen it do prior to the last decade”.