BLUFAustralia needs to be sensitive and needs to manage its relationships with ASEAN due to the new AUKUS agreement.
The Australia, the US and UK (AUKUS) alliance surprised ASEAN. Key points are:
- Indonesia and Malaysia have come out strongly against Australia’s proposed fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, arguing it will lead to an arms race.
- Even Singapore, Australia’s most reliable ally in the region, has expressed concern.
- Japan, South Korea, and probably Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam support AUKUS.
- There is a feeling AUKUS is to reassure Indo-Pacific countries after the Afghanistan withdrawal.
- Many in ASEAN think nuclear-powered submarines equals future nuclear weapons.
- Australia has not joined the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- ASEAN members created the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. No nuclear power is a signatory.
- Australian nuclear-powered submarines may make the Chinese more nervous and increase naval “close encounters”.
- The ASEAN states are concerned about being caught in China-US rivalry.
- AUKUS shows ASEAN members opinions don’t matter, and Australia isn’t part of the region.
- Sep 2021 the Strategist Australia must take Southeast Asian reactions to AUKUS seriously.
- Sep 2021 ABC News Australia seeks to allay South-East Asian concerns over AUKUS nuclear submarine deal
- Sep 2021 SCMP This Week in Asia Not a defence alliance’: Australia looks to assuage Asean’s concerns over Aukus nuclear subs deal
- Sep 2021 the Phnon Penh Post Oz seeks to reassure ASEAN after Aukus deal