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AUKUS pact delivers blow to nuclear nonproliferation regime

Submarine deal provides Iran excuse to pursue illicit weapons program

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, center, U.S. President Joe Biden, right, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announce the AUKUS pact in Canberra on Sept. 16.   © AAP Image via AP

DUBAI/LONDON -- A newly minted trilateral defense pact among the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, dubbed AUKUS, represents a major step forward in Washington's strategic effort to build a network of alliances to counter China's accelerating naval expansion.

The centerpiece of the agreement will give Australia access to nuclear propulsion technology to power a new fleet of submarines. Nuclear-powered submarines are very stealthy and can operate at high speeds for long periods of time with nearly unlimited endurance. Some military experts regard their deterrent power as strong as aircraft carriers. In this respect, AUKUS makes sense as part of a strategy to meet the security challenges posed by China.

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