Australian defense minister says no promise was made to help US if conflict over Taiwan erupted


Australia made no promises to the United States in the event of a Taiwanese conflict in exchange for access to Virginia-class nuclear submarines, Defense Minister Richard Marles said.

“Absolutely not. And I couldn’t be more specific than that.

The leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced on March 13 that Australia will purchase at least three Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines over the next 10 years under the AUKUS agreement.

Mars said submarines had the ability to operate in warfare, but their primary purpose was to protect regional stability.

“I’m not going to speculate about Taiwan’s future … What Australia will or will not do regarding future conflicts will be a matter to be considered by the then government at that time,” he said. Said.

The purchase is made to replace Australia’s aging Collins-class diesel-powered submarines in response to an increase in Chinese military aggression in the region.

Marles said the ongoing cost of maintaining nuclear submarine capability was 0.15% of GDP, less than 10% of the defense budget, and 2% of the defense budget, expected to rise to 2.2%. It revealed that.

“For that, we get the defense’s most transformative capability—a dramatic increase in our potency,” he said.

“This is simply 0.15% best value money in the context of defense spending. [of GDP] what we use. ”

Epoch Times photo
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles speaks during a press conference at the 32nd Australian-American Ministerial Meeting (AUSMIN) at the Department of State in Washington, DC, December 6, 2022. (Image by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty)

During a question session in parliament, Marles said that “a quick glance at it” explains why Australia needs submarines.

“Our geography – we have long trade routes that connect us to the world,” he said on March 20.

Trade routes to Japan and South Korea, Australia’s third and fourth largest two-way trading partners, also need to pass through the South China Sea.

“Australia’s defense doesn’t mean much without the collective security of our region and the maintenance of the rules-based order on which we increasingly rely,” Marles told Parliament.

He also explained that current Collins-class submarines have “extremely effective capabilities”, but that capability will become less and less by the 2030s.

“The fact that you need to surface every few days to recharge your batteries is an act that will become increasingly detectable in the 2030s, which means less and less capability,” he said. said.

Will Australia stand with the US on the Taiwan issue?

Meanwhile, former U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said he wanted Australia to side with the United States in the event of a possible war over Taiwan.

“Let’s hope [Taiwan] It will not become a flash point. Frankly, there are no good outcomes on either side of the equation,” he said. Said Australian National Press Club on March 20th.

“We can’t look to the future and see what will happen, but we can hope. [Australia would] In fact, if that’s the path we take, stay by our side.

But he also declined to comment on whether the United States would support Taiwan if it were attacked.

“We talk about the conflict with Taiwan. They [China] do you want it? Not at this time,” Spencer said. “Well, they want it at some point.”

He hoped the projection of power the AUKUS agreement would have had a significant impact on decisions by Beijing to initiate conflict in the region.

Acting Secretary of Defense Richard Spencer
Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 16, 2019. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

CIA Director William Burns said in February that the United States was aware that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered the military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.

Burns said Xi’s orders may not represent the timeline for the Chinese military invasion of Taiwan, but it shows his “seriousness” in pursuing this goal.

At an event at Washington’s Georgetown University, he said, “The CIA’s assessment will not underestimate President Xi Jinping’s Taiwan ambitions.”

Byrnes believes Xi is likely “shaken” by the Russian military’s performance in the Ukrainian war, and will assess his ambitions for Taiwan against the effectiveness of Russia’s weapons systems in Ukraine. He said it was likely that

Nuclear submarines, including the purchase of the Virginia-class submarines, will cost about $368 billion (US$260 billion) over 30 years, averaging $12 billion annually.

Spencer described the Virginia-class submarines as one of the United States’ premier weapons delivery programs.

Aldgra Fredly contributed to this report.