U.S. Diplomat Says Australian Nuclear Submarines to Defend Taiwan From China

A senior US ambassador has hinted that in the event of a conflict between China and Australia over Taiwan, the United States would anticipate the deployment of Australia’s planned nuclear-powered submarines.

Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell brought up the AUKUS submarines during his recent speech at the Centre for a New American Security in Washington.

According to Dr. Campbell, the United States may need the help of its AUKUS friends and other regional partners to deal with possible areas of conflict in the Indo-Pacific.

The US, the UK, and Australia formed a security alliance known as AUKUS, which focuses on the Indo-Pacific area. As part of a collaboration announced in September 2021, the US and the UK will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

The SSN-AUKUS, Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines, will take design cues from the UK’s next-gen design, which integrates technology from all three countries.

Reports show that in December 2023, the US Congress authorized the sale of three Virginia Class SSNs nuclear-powered subs to Australia. The sale is expected to begin in the early 2030s. Australia may still request clearance for up to two more if necessary.  With this procurement, the United States, Australia, and the UK will be better able to prevent aggression and maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific region.

Three American subs were part of the proposal, which Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated in March of last year would cost citizens $268 billion to $368 billion over the next 30 years.

Albanese, US President Biden, and Rishi Sunak of the UK have all lauded the alliance’s promise to provide employment opportunities in their nations.

However, in early April, Dr. Campbell seemed to indicate that the US saw AUKUS as having a role in any dispute between China and the Taiwan Strait.

Last March, a prominent defense expert raised concerns that the AUKUS nuclear sub contract may compel Australia to join the United States in a conflict with China.

Reports indicate that Albanese has repeatedly said that if Australia’s objectives were to diverge from those of the US or the UK during a conflict, the country would retain the sovereignty of the submarines.