Australia to build nuclear submarine base
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce the construction of a new AU$10 billion nuclear submarine base, while warning Australians that Russia’s conflict with Ukraine will “inevitably stretch to the Indo-Pacific.”
Morrison is scheduled to unveil Australia’s nuclear submarine base plans during a speech to the neoliberal Lowy Institute in Sydney on Monday, according to his speech notes cited by local media. Morrison will warn that Russia’s conflict with Ukraine will “inevitably stretch to the Indo-Pacific” and that Australia “faces its most difficult and dangerous security environment in 80 years.”
Morrison will also reportedly warn that “a new arc of autocracy” is forming to “challenge and reset the world order in their own image,” and the prime minister will denounce Russia’s conflict with Ukraine as the “latest example of an authoritarian regime seeking to challenge the status quo through threats and violence.”
Three locations have reportedly been shortlisted for the nuclear submarine base: Two in New South Wales and one in Brisbane, Queensland.
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton claimed on Sunday that the country would acquire its nuclear-powered submarines “much sooner” than expected. As part of its AUKUS agreement with the US and UK, Australia was initially supposed to receive the submarines by 2040. It is unclear as to when Australia currently expects the submarines.
Refusing to rule out Australia potentially arming Taiwan in a conflict against China, Dutton said that the country’s current priority was to “deter any acts of aggression whether it’s from China or from Russia or anybody else.”