Joe Biden appears to forget Australian PMs name
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Last night it was revealed Britain will take a leading role in combatting China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific as part of the agreement reached with Washington and Canberra. The new trilateral defence partnership, known by its acronym Aukus, is a boost for the Prime Minister’s vision of Global Britain.
The alliance sits firmly in line with Mr Johnson’s Integrated Review commitments outlined last year.
As part of the plans to overhaul Britain’s security and foreign policy to make it fit for the modern age, the review committed the UK to strengthening alliances with like-minded allies and deepen ties in the Indo-Pacific.
Under the new defence alliance, the three western allies will work “hand-in-glove to preserve security and stability”.
Mr Johnson updated MPs on the deal in the Commons this morning.
He told MPs: “The integrated review of foreign and defence policy described Britain’s renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific, a region that is fast becoming the geopolitical centre of the world, ever more important for British trade and therefore for British jobs and British livelihoods.
“If there was ever any question about what global Britain’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific would mean in reality or what capabilities we might offer, then this partnership with Australia and the US provides the answer.
“It amounts to a new pillar of a strategy demonstrating Britain’s generational commitment to the security of the Indo-Pacific and showing exactly how we can help one of our oldest friends to preserve regional stability.”
His statement to Parliament came after Mr Johnson, US President Joe Biden, and Australia’s Scott Morrison held a joint virtual broadcast to unveil the partnership last night.
In a live broadcast from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the partnership would make the world safer.
He said: “I’m delighted to join President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison to announce that the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States are creating a new trilateral defence partnership, known as Aukus, with the aim of working hand-in-glove to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
“We are opening a new chapter in our friendship.
“Perhaps most significantly, the UK, Australia and the US will be joined even more closely together, reflecting the measure of trust between us, the depth of our friendship, and the enduring strength of our shared values of freedom and democracy.
“Now the UK will embark on this project alongside our allies, making the world safer and generating jobs across the United Kingdom.”
Speaking from Australia, Mr Morrison said the world was “becoming more complex, particularly in our region, the Indo-Pacific”, and said the future of the geopolitical area “will impact all our futures”.
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Meanwhile, Mr Biden said the “future of each of our nations, and indeed the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead”.
Under the partnership, the UK and US will provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.
The UK has built and operated nuclear-powered submarines for over 60 years.
Officials say Britain’s long history in the sector will “bring deep expertise and experience to the project”.
It is expected to create hundreds of highly skilled scientific and engineering roles across the UK.
As part of plans outlined alongside the Integrated Review, Britain has in recent weeks already sought to deepen defence links with Australia.
The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently deployed on a voyage in the Indo-Pacific region to showcase Britain’s military might.
The Government hopes it will send a message to Beijing and Russia.
Last month the Carrier Strike Group undertook a series of exercises with countries including Australia to build interoperability with like-minded partners.
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