Australian news, and some related international items

Military chiefs to hold talks on basing UK nuclear submarines in Perth

AFR Andrew Tillett, Political correspondent, Jul 20, 2022 

The prospect of British submarines being based out of Perth with Australian sailors on board to undergo nuclear training will be advanced, with the head of the UK military to hold top-level talks with Australian officials next week.

The visit to Sydney and Canberra by UK Chief of the Defence Staff Tony Radakin comes as China sends fresh signals about a desire to improve ties with Australia. There have been further hints a ban on coal exports could soon end, although miners are yet to see any indications of that.

China’s foreign ministry also lauded Foreign Minister Penny Wong for advancing “positive elements” in her recent remarks on China.

A ministry spokesman welcomed Senator Wong downplaying the interpretation that her counterpart Wang Yi had issued four “demands” of Australia on how to improve relations at their groundbreaking meeting in Bali earlier this month.

While China has seized on Labor’s election as an opportunity to repair relations and the Albanese government has dialled down the rhetoric on Beijing, Canberra is still proceeding on the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines from the UK and US under the AUKUS framework.

Admiral Radakin will meet a number of Australian officials, including recently reappointed Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell. In Sydney, he will attend the Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defence conference and meet counterparts from South-East Asia and the south-west Pacific.

Plug for capability gap

Despite the war in Ukraine, sources said Admiral Radakin was “ambitious” about expanding the UK’s military presence in the Indo-Pacific and his visit was the first in a series by UK security officials and ministers to the region.

A key topic of talks with General Campbell and others will be how Britain can help Australia plug a potential capability gap between the retirement of the ageing Collins class submarines and arrival of the nuclear-powered boats, which Defence Minister Richard Marles says may not be delivered until the 2040s.

The Australian Financial Review understands this could involve the UK deploying its nuclear-powered submarines to Perth for operations in the region………………………………………….

July 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment