United States, Australia to counter China's 'destabilizing military activities"
Australia and United States defense ministers are determined to "counter destabilizing military activities by the People's Republic of China", they said in a statement after a meeting at the Pentagon.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Australia's Defence Minister Richard Marles in Washington on Monday as part of the annual AUSMIN talks that on Tuesday will include the two nations' foreign ministers.
Britain's defence minister, Ben Wallace, will also attend the first in-person meeting of AUKUS ministers on Wednesday in Washington. The defence technology group of Australia, United States and Britain was formed to deliver nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia.
The AUKUS meeting comes at a critical time for the partners, which are due to decide in March whether the submarine will be British or American, and set a road map for an Australian fleet.
Australia has said it needs the long range and stealth capability of nuclear-powered submarines, which would carry conventional weapons.