WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement on President Joe Biden’s announcement with United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the countries’ plans to bolster the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) partnership and to provide for Australia to acquire conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines:
“Today’s announcement by President Biden, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, outlines a process for Australia’s acquiring conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines and represents a significant milestone in U.S. cooperation with our allies to enhance Indo-Pacific security. This announcement is historic in the sense that it is the first time since 1958 that the United States has committed to share this technology with an ally. The Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) partnership is already strengthening our three countries’ defense and economic relations, and enhancing our ability to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. The leaders’ statement today reaffirms AUKUS will be a generational investment in strengthening U.S. security and interests in Asia—and one that will have an impact well beyond any single capability.
“As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I look forward to reviewing future bilateral and trilateral Mutual Defense Agreements (MDAs) and working on any legislation that may be required to enable deeper cooperation with our AUKUS partners. I am committed to ensuring we have the highest level of nuclear safety, security, and stewardship in this endeavor and that we proceed with our AUKUS commitments in a manner that results in a U.S. Navy fleet even more ready and capable than before.”