As part of the AUKUS deal, Australia will get nuclear-powered submarines to counter China's ambitions in the Indo-Pacific. The move has already angered Beijing.
Monday's plan represents the first project of the joint AUKUS security alliance first announced in 2021. It provides Australia with three US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines.
The multi-stage project would culminate with British and Australian production and operation of a new class of submarine — a "trilaterally developed" vessel based on Britain's next-generation design that would be built in Britain and Australia and include "cutting edge" US technology.
According to China, AUKUS violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Beijing has argued the transfer of nuclear weapons materials from a nuclear-weapon state to a non-nuclear-weapon state was a "blatant" violation of the spirit of the pact.
Currently, no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty other than the five countries the NPT recognizes as weapons states — the US, Russia, China, Britain and France — has nuclear submarines.
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