Seeking an Alliance in the Indo-Pacific in the Context of the AUKUS Pact

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The AUKUS Pact is a security agreement between the United States (USA), Australia and the United Kingdom, which includes technological initiatives. The draft, which these three countries came together to put forward, was put forward in order to be protected from “threats” originating from China. The AUKUS Pact agreement on the production of nuclear submarines, which was first put on the agenda in Jul 2021, and the statements on the procurement of three nuclear submarines to Australia from the United States, have revealed the security dimension of the pact.

As it will be remembered, the AUKUS Pact brought with it many discussions in the period when it was first put on the agenda. During the period in question, France, which has an agreement with Australia on the production of a diesel-fueled submarine since 2016, withdrew its embassies from the countries due to the unannounced agreement of the United States and Australia. The underlying reason for this is that it is not right for the allies to make secret agreements. As expected, China has given the biggest reaction to this agreement.

The Beijing administration has stated in its statements that this situation is thoughtless and discriminatory, and that the United States is maintaining a Cold War mentality together with its allies. As it can be understood from these statements, Beijing is aware of the strategy carried out by the United States through alliances. Another entity affected by this process is the European Union (EU), in which France is also a member. The EU has stated that this agreement was made in secret from its parties and that the situation corresponds to the conclusion that the EU should take care of itself.

On the other hand, maritime and maritime dominance in the world is considered as one of the most important factors determining the position of states. Therefore, China’s increasing influence in the Indo-Pacific Region seems to have led the United States to such an agreement. At least the approach of the parties reveals this.

It should be noted that the agreement is not limited only to the deployment of nuclear submarines in Australian ports. When the content of the agreement is examined, it can be said that artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the quantum industry also come to the fore. Various factors, especially China’s progress in artificial intelligence, have been effective behind these studies. China’s developing technology, its ability to chart a path for itself in the space race and its demographic potential are perceived as a threat by the United States. That’s why the Washington administration wants to limit China through alliances.

The Beijing administration, on the other hand, is uncomfortable with the containment strategy implemented by the USA. Because China wishes to gain geopolitical gains with its increasing economic power and its effectiveness in the seas. The security of regions such as Africa, the Middle East and Europe, where China cares to develop dialogue, is generally provided by the USA. However, recently, China has been positioned as a peace-making actor in both the Russia-Ukraine War and the Saudi Arabia-Iran normalization process. This is a situation that may disturb the United States and NATO allies. Despite this, the AUKUS Pact has shown the EU that it should act more autonomously regarding the decision-making mechanism.

The situation in question may take the form of more concrete messages after the visit of French President Emanuel Macron to China. France, one of the most powerful countries in the EU, developing cooperation with China in technological fields may involve other EU countries in this process. In other words, France, which is harmed by AUKUS, can transform the EU into an actor that produces more autonomous policies than the USA on the Indo-Pacific axis by improving its relations with China.

As a result, AUKUS; It has strengthened relations between the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom. This alliance is an outcome of the US strategy to contain China through allies in the region. However, developments may disable the EU, especially France. This may bring European actors closer to China.