Australia plans to build a A$10 billion ($7.4 billion) nuclear-powered submarine base on its east coast after Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s failure to condemn it are a “wake-up call” to Europe and the world about the threat posed by autocratic regimes.
The new submarine base is the latest step in Australia’s efforts to bolster its military capabilities and form alliances in the Indo-Pacific region as tensions with China rise. Canberra will invest A$578 billion in its defense force over the next decade, including a deal with Britain and the US to modernize submarine fleet.
The government has shortlisted locations in Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla, south of Sydney, for the new base, which will give the fleet immediate access to the Pacific Ocean. Australia’s existing submarine base is located in Western Australia, on the Indian Ocean.
Morrison, in a speech to the Lowy Institute, a think tank, said Invasion of Ukraine and recent tensions with China – including the use of “unnecessary provocation” lasers by the Chinese navy against an Australian surveillance plane off its northern coast – meaning the country faces its deadliest security threat in 80 years.
“A new arc of autocracies instinctively aligns to challenge and re-establish world order in their own image,” he said. “Events are now drawing the curtain. Perhaps the scabs also began to fall from the eyes of the world. At least I hope so.”
Morrison added that the Ukraine invasion was a “major wake-up call” for Europe, both strategically and economically. The Prime Minister said he welcomed signs of a “harder European, more cooperative approach to autocratic adventurism”. He likened the new approach to the moves of Australia and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
Morrison stressed that the invasion of Ukraine should not be seen as an act of lunacy. “This is what autocrats do,” he said. “It is not the product of a sudden madness or the failure of previous diplomacy to resolve grievances.”
He called for more cooperation between partners in the region and cited a meeting last week with Quad leaders – including the US, Australia, Japan and India – discussing the impact of the war in Europe. Europe for the Indo-Pacific region.
Morrison again criticized China for not condemning Russia’s “brutal attacks” in Ukraine and easing trade restrictions with the neighboring country at a time when other countries are imposing sanctions. tough economic penalties.
“As long as China bets every way on this, then [I fear] he said.