Malaysia to Seek China’s Views on Australia’s Nuclear Subs Deal
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia will seek China’s view on a security pact that helps Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines amid concerns of regional instability, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in parliament.
The so-called AUKUS partnership announced last week will see U.S. and Britain support Australia in building nuclear-powered submarines. China has since warned that the alliance will spur an arms race in the region.
“We need to get the views from the leadership of China, especially China’s defense, on what was announced by the three countries and what is their (China’s) action” on the AUKUS partnership, Hishammuddin said on Wednesday. He proposed an immediate working visit to China.
Hishammuddin said he has advised his Australian counterpart to seek views from Brunei and countries close to China. He said he shares Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s view that parties should avoid the use of military action to prevent an arms race in a region riven by maritime territorial disputes.
The focus now is to balance AUKUS with the Five Power Defence Arrangement, a bilateral defense relationship between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K., Hishammuddin said. Signed in 1971, the accord provides for the five countries to consult each other immediately following an armed attack against any of them.
“What we have built since 50 years ago from FPDA can be used as a leverage to balance the big powers,” he said.
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