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Saturday, 24 Sep 2022 9:15 AM MYT

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 — The leaders of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia said in a statement on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the Aukus security pact that they have made “significant progress” towards Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” the statement said.

Aukus is seen as an effort by the Western allies to push back against China’s growing power and influence, particularly its military buildup, pressure on Taiwan and deployments in the contested South China Sea.

The heart of the Aukus agreement is a plan to provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

The Aukus leaders — US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese — also said they had made “significant strides” in other areas, including hypersonic weapons, cyber, electronic warfare capabilities and additional undersea capabilities. — Reuters