Australia says US nuclear submarines needed to counter Chinese militarization


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's defense minister said Tuesday a deal to purchase nuclear-powered attack submarines from the United States was needed to counter the biggest conventional military buildup in the state since World War II.

Australian officials said the deal will cost up to $245 billion over the next three decades and create 20,000 jobs. At this time China is rapidly building up its own military.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said it had made a large diplomatic try for months ahead of Monday's announcement of the deal, consisting of more than 60 calls to regional and world leaders. Australia had offered to keep China in the loop, he said.

“We offered a briefing. I have not participated in a briefing with China," Marles said.

Asked by reporters if China had rejected the briefing or responded at all, Marles replied: “I'm not aware of that response.” Without specifically mentioning China, Marles said Australia was required twas o respond to the military buildup in the Pacific.

“A failure to do so would see us be condemned by history,” he said.

China has said the deal consists of serious nuclear r proliferation risks and stimulates the arms race.

“We urge the U.S., Britain, and Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, faithfully fulfill their international obligations and do more to contribute to regional peace and stability,” Foreign Ministry official Mao Ning said during a daily briefing Thursday.