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Australia ‘confident’ on nuclear submarines as defence, foreign ministers meet

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Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles said in a Sky television interview on Friday that Australia, which has agreed to invest $3 billion in US submarine facilities, understood there was “pressure on the American industrial base” but AUKUS was “on track”.

“Why this arrangement is going to be so advantageous for all three countries is because we will develop an industrial base in this country which will contribute to the net capability of Australia, the UK and the US,” he added.

CHINA CONCERNS

China’s security ambitions in the Indo-Pacific will also be under discussion by the security allies.

“We’ve seen troubling (Chinese) coercion from the East China Sea to the South China Sea to right here in the Southwest Pacific, and will continue to support our allies and partners as they defend themselves from bullying behaviour,” Austin said before meeting with Marles on Friday.

Australia is reshaping its defence force in response to China’s military build up, and plans to boost its long range strike capability, domestic missile production, and interoperability with the US and other regional militaries.

Austin said deepening defence ties, including efforts to integrate Japan into joint force posture initiatives, would be discussed.

“Now’s the time to be working closely with friends, and Australia has no better friend than the United States of America,” Marles said at the start of a meeting with his US counterpart.

Australia hosts an annual rotation of US Marines in the northern city of Darwin. War games involving more than 30,000 troops from the US, Japan and 10 other countries are being held in Queensland this week.

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