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'No plan to expand AUKUS beyond 3 countries, says Australian premier

'No plan to expand AUKUS beyond 3 countries, says Australian premier

 
- Statement comes after AUKUS defense chiefs said they were considering cooperation with Japan on second stage of pact
 

By Islamuddin Sajid

ANKARA (AA) - Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday said there is no plan to expand the US, UK, and Australia trilateral AUKUS military pact beyond the three countries.

His statement came after the American, British and Australian defense ministers said they were considering cooperation with Japan on AUKUS Pillar II advanced capability projects, part of the security agreement focusing on technology such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

"We are focused on the relationship with our AUKUS partnership. To be very clear, AUKUS, there is no plan to expand AUKUS beyond the three countries," Albanese told reporters in Canberra.

"When it comes to Pillar II, what we'll look at is, project by project, the desirability of further engagement," he added.

On Sept. 15, 2021, the nations announced the formation of AUKUS, a trilateral security treaty for the Indo-Pacific region. It is primarily aimed at boosting deterrence against China, which they say is becoming more assertive in the region.

The three AUKUS allies, along with Canada and New Zealand, are members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing network.

The announcement comes as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prepares to land in Washington for a summit with US President Joe Biden.

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