Canada and New Zealand have no intention of joining the Aukus, the military agreement between the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. But for Ottawa, the agreement is complementary to its interests in the Indo-Pacific. Wellington is ready to cooperate in the field of cyber security. The two countries do not wish to formally participate in a combination with a strong anti-Chinese character.
ROME (Asia News) – Cocos and Nukus are not in sight. Canada and New Zealand have no intention of joining the military agreement signed by the United States, Great Britain and Australia in mid-September, which many observers see as a new tool to contain China’s geopolitical rise. It appears that Ottawa and Wellington are already interested in cooperating in areas covered by the treaty that do not include nuclear submarines.
In October, General Nick Carter, then commander of the British armed forces, said the Tripartite Agreement could be extended. Given their participation in the Five Eyes organization (the intelligence alliance formed by the Aukus nations as well as Canada and New Zealand) and traditional ties within the “English Domain”, Ottawa and Wellington appear to be natural candidates.
Canada’s position on Aukus is ambiguous. When asked about Asia News If the Canadian government considers the possibility of entering into the trilateral agreement, at least with regard to aspects such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology and missile technology, Global Affairs Canada spokesman John Babcock replied that his country “has not sought direct participation in this agreement.”
Babcock added, however, that Ottawa sees the Oka complement its interests in the Indo-Pacific. “Safety in [regione] It is a priority that requires close collaboration with a wide range of partners. The Canadian spokesperson said Canada remains committed to working with our partners and allies on regional security and stability,” noting that “as a Pacific nation, Canada continues to expand its defense and security commitment in the region, as well as through a greater naval presence.”
According to Robert Hubert, senior researcher at the University of Calgary’s Center for Military and Strategic Studies, it does not make sense for Canada to join Aukus, which would also benefit all member states. The problem, he said, is that “the current Canadian government has shown little willingness to adopt any form of defense policy toward China.”
As Babcock noted, Canada is not considering acquiring US and British submarine technology – the cornerstone of the Aukus – nor does it currently intend to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. However the Canadian Ministry of Defense explained to Asia News The Royal Canadian Navy has launched a project for the potential replacement of its submarines, an initiative that will assess “all available options”.
Huebert argues that Canada should strategically consider purchasing nuclear submarines, beneficial to its security needs in the Asia-Pacific and Arctic waters. However, he notes, “It seems politically impossible to believe that the Canadian government would want to pursue such a project now.”
In contrast to Canada, the distance between New Zealand and the Okus is much clearer. Wellington’s Department of Foreign Affairs stressed that the centerpiece of the agreement is nuclear-powered submarines, which are prohibited in the country’s inland waters under New Zealand’s Nuclear-Free Zones, Disarmament and Arms Control Act.
But even so, New Zealand is leaving the door open. “Aukus envisions forms of collaboration in other emerging security areas, including those in which we work closely with our signatories, such as cybersecurity. We will continue to engage closely with the US, UK and Australia on how we can collaborate for mutual benefit in these sectors,” the spokesperson emphasized. On behalf of the New Zealand Government.
The New Zealand government, in its recently published annual State of the Defense Assessment, has expressed deep concern about China’s military presence in the South Pacific. Wellington fears that the Chinese navy may establish an outpost on the region’s islands.
Robert Ayson, professor of strategic studies at Victoria University of Wellington, does not believe New Zealand is seeking to join Aukus as a full member. He also suspects that the three signatories will want to. However, the New Zealand academic is convinced that there is potential for some “Aukus Plus” discussions with select security partners: “If Aukus moves significantly in some areas of interest to New Zealand, including cyber defense and artificial intelligence, for example, then I think Wellington He would be happy to participate in those discussions.”
The truth is that Canada and New Zealand may be looking to reap some of the benefits that Aukus has to offer, but without the annoying burden of formally participating in a military combination with a strong anti-Chinese character.
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