Australia briefs PH on new security pact with UK and US

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17)— Australia’s trilateral agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom aims to strengthen peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region, according to a briefing by Australian defense chief Peter Dutton for Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The new pact— dubbed “AUKUS” — was one of the matters raised during the first defense bilateral meeting on Friday, the Defense department said in a statement.

“Minister Dutton informed Secretary Lorenzana about the recent announcements made by Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US) on their trilateral pact, referred to as the AUKUS alliance, and Australia's acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines,” the agency said of the phone conversation.

The department added Dutton also expressed concern over possible conflicts in the region.

[T]he intention to acquire submarines is to develop Australia’s capability to protect its territories as well as that of its friends in the region,” the agency said, citing the Australian official.

AUKUS — formally announced by the powerhouse nations earlier this week — aims to strengthen the diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Initiatives include “deeper information and technology sharing” among partners, the White House said in a statement.

The deal will also see the US and UK support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.

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For his part, Lorenzana said the Philippines is also “building its own capability” to protect its territory.