Lorenzana briefed on new Australia-UK-US alliance
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday (Sept. 17) received a briefing on the newly formed Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) alliance from Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton.
The two ministers spoke for the first time since Dutton became Australian defense minister early this year, the Department of National Defense (DND) said in a statement.
The new trilateral security partnership, intended to deepen diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, was seen as an effort to counter China’s growing power.
It will also allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines from shared technology provided by the US, which makes it the second nation after Britain to be given access to US technology to build nuclear-powered submarines.
In a telephone call, Dutton told Lorenzana that Australia is concerned about peace and stability in the region and the intent to acquire submarines is to develop Australia’s capability to protect its territories as well as those of its friends in the region.
Dutton made clear that the submarines will be nuclear-powered but will not be armed with nuclear weapons. He also underscored that Australia wants to be seen as a neighbor that promotes regional peace, the DND said.
For his part, Lorenzana recognized Australia’s right to improve its defense capabilities. He said the Philippines, which is strategically situated in Southeast Asia, is also building its own capability to protect its territories.
He said the Philippines would like to maintain good bilateral defense relations with all countries in the region.
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