Australia, UK deepen security ties amid China concerns | Politics News

Two countries say there has been “significant progress” in the AUKUS plan for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

The UK has pledged 25 million pounds ($34 million) as part of a pledge to promote ‘peace and stability’ in the Indo-Pacific as it deepens a security pact with the Australia amid continued concerns about China’s power and influence in the region.

The funds will be used to “build regional resilience in areas such as cyberspace, state threats and maritime security,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison said in a joint statement Thursday. of a video meeting.

The statement also expressed “serious concern” over alleged human rights violations in China’s far western region of Xinjiang and the situation in Myanmar, and stressed the importance of peace. and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

The UK and Australia are deepening their security ties as China becomes increasingly assertive over its territorial and maritime claims in the region.

In the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Southeast Asian nations that surround it, Beijing has built artificial islands and developed rocky outcrops into military bases, deploying its coast guard and a maritime militia to support his claim to almost the entire sea.

The joint statement said Johnson and Morrison recognized the importance for countries to be able to exercise their maritime rights and freedoms in the South China Sea in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“The leaders reiterated their firm opposition to any unilateral action that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the rules-based international order, including militarization, coercion and intimidation,” he said. -he declares.

In Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, the Chinese air force has held regular sorties into the island’s air defense zone and stepped up pressure on countries, companies and organizations that engage with self-governing democracy.

Britain and the United Kingdom said there had also been “significant progress” in supplying Australia with the conventionally armed nuclear submarines that were a key part of the AUKUS pact with states. States last September. Along with the United States, Japan and India, Australia is also a key member of the Quad, whose members agreed last week to further deepen security cooperation.

Discussions also focused on Myanmar, where the generals who seized power in a February 2021 coup used force against people opposed to his rule and were accused of actions that could amount to war crimes for their attacks on civilians.

The UK and Australia called for “an immediate end to violence against civilian populations, the release of all those arbitrarily detained, including Australian professor Sean Turnell, and unhindered humanitarian access”. Turnell, economic adviser to elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was taken into custody shortly after the coup.

The two countries also urged the Myanmar military to implement the five-point consensus to end the violence that was agreed with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last April. ASEAN foreign ministers are currently meeting in Cambodia, but the military declined to participate after Myanmar was told it could only send a ‘non-political representative’ due to its inability to attend. implement the plan.

With Russian troops still massed near the Ukrainian border, Johnson and Morrison also stressed the need for the situation to be de-escalated.

“They stressed that any further Russian incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and would have a significant humanitarian cost,” the joint statement said.

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