Other countries could join US, UK and Australia in the Aukus three-way partnership, defence minister says
Other countries could soon join the Aukus trilateral security partnership, a defence minister has suggested.
Pillar one of the Aukus deal will see the UK, US and Australia work together to build a new class of nuclear-powered submarines and form a three-way partnership operating in the Indo-Pacific.
Defence procurement minister Alex Chalk's comments were in response to shadow defence secretary John Healey, who asked him in the Commons to provide an update on pillar two, which promises "potential co-operation on hypersonic, on cyber, on AI, and on quantum computing".
Mr Chalk responded: "There are a number of aspects to it, from hypersonic, as he indicated, AI, but also underwater technologies as well. There will be further detail that will be explored in due course.
"What I think I can say to his point about other countries is, unlike pillar one, which is not open for engagement beyond the three nations that we've already indicated, we will, of course, consider the interest that other nations have expressed in pillar two."
He went on to say: "Aukus is designed to show, whether it's pillar one or pillar two, is a shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and an international system that respects the rule of law, sovereignty, human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes free from coercion.
"That’s what our nation stands for, that's what Aukus will deliver."