News analysis

Nuclear submarine decision by Australia reflects deep anxiety about China

(From left) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and US President Joe Biden attend a joint press conference in Canberra, Australia, on Sept 16, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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SYDNEY - Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison tactfully avoided responding to China's strident attacks on his new plans to build nuclear submarines, but his outspoken Defence Minister, Mr Peter Dutton, showed far less restraint.

Dismissing Chinese state media's denunciations of Australia as "outbursts", Mr Dutton said on Friday (Sept 17) that Australia needed to be ready for a potential war in the region. He said the prospect of a war over Taiwan was realistic and was a factor in the decision this week by Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to form a new security partnership, called Aukus.

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