President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia and Britain announced on Monday that Australia will buy nuclear-powered attack submarines from the United States in a deal estimated to be worth around 342 billion euros to modernize its fleet amid growing concerns over China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific. -Pacific region.

“Today we are announcing steps to implement our first project under AUKUS and develop Australia’s conventionally-armed nuclear-armed submarine capability,” President Joe Biden announced during a joint news conference in San Diego.

“From the beginning of the next decade, Australia will receive three US Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines. We are also proud to be working with the UK to design the next-generation submarine, which will be called the SSN-AUKUS. A new, conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine based on a British design and incorporating advanced Australian, British and American technology,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed.

The AUKUS partnership, announced in 2021, paved the way for Australia’s access to nuclear-powered submarines, which are stealthy and more capable than conventional boats, as a counterweight to China’s military buildup.

Biden, appearing sensitive to tensions with China and its criticism of the deal, stressed that “They are nuclear-powered — not nuclear-armed.”

“The AUKUS agreement we are confirming here in San Diego represents the largest single investment in Australia’s defense capability in our history – strengthening Australia’s national security and stability in our region,” Mr Albanese said.

“Over the past 18 months, the challenge we face has only grown. Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, China’s growing assertiveness, the destabilizing behavior of Iran and North Korea, all threaten to create a world defined by danger, disorder and division,” said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak .

“In the face of this new reality, it is more important than ever that we strengthen the resilience of our own countries. For the first time, the UK will move away from our baseline commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense to a new ambition of 2.5%,” added Sunak.