PM Lee speaks with Aussie PM Morrison on US-UK-Australia partnership

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a joint news conference at the Istana on June 10, 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been briefed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the newly-established trilateral partnership between Australia, Britain and the United States, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Mr Morrison also said he had called outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the enhanced security pact, and was ringing Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in addition to PM Lee, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mr Morrison announced the landmark security partnership, called Aukus, earlier on Thursday (Sept 16).

The pact will allow Australia to upgrade its submarines to a nuclear-powered fleet, and acquire long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US. Britain is the only other country the US has ever helped to build a nuclear fleet.

The three countries also plan to deepen information and technology sharing, as well to enhance cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, undersea capabilities.

During the call from his counterpart, PM Lee noted the longstanding bilateral and multilateral relations that Singapore shared with Australia, the UK and the US, said MFA.

PM Lee expressed hopes that the partnership would contribute constructively to the peace and stability of the region and complement the regional architecture.

The two leaders also discussed how both countries are tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Morrison thanked him for the dose-sharing arrangement of Covid-19 vaccines last month.

The two countries had agreed to swap 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which involves Australia receiving the doses in September and then delivering a similar number to Singapore in December.

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