Australia’s Submarines Make Waves in Asia Long Before They Go to Sea

An effective deterrent against China’s military, according to a former Pentagon official in charge of China relations, could be the deployment of hard-to-track submarines near China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Thompson, now a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore, declared, “The Middle East wars have ended.” I believe we’re in the midst of an interwar period in which there will be a major conflict between the United States and a near-peer rival, probably involving China, and taking place in Northeast Asia.

The Chinese government hasn’t said much since last week, when it denounced the submarine agreement. Even so, China’s leaders and military planners will be sure to consider military and diplomatic countermeasures, including new ways to punish Australian exports, which have already been subjected to bans and punitive tariffs as relations have deteriorated in the past few years.

It is possible for Beijing to speed up efforts to develop technologies for detecting and destroying nuclear-powered submarines long before they are delivered to Australia. The majority of experts believe that a technological race rather than a global arms race is more likely. China is already churning out new naval vessels and fighter aircraft at a rapid pace. In terms of anti-submarine defences, it falls short.

Officials in China could step up regional opposition to the submarine plan and the new AUKUS security group for Australia, the UK, and the US in the near future.

This also makes China think, ‘Well, I better get ahead of this’,” Elbridge Colby, a former Trump administration deputy assistant secretary of defence, said. To paraphrase him, “If Australia takes this big step,” the rest of the world will be able to follow suit.