Australia's move to establish an enhanced trilateral security partnership with the United States and Britain has raised concerns over nuclear proliferation from the international community as under the deal Australia has scrapped a contract to buy submarines from France in favor of U.S.-made nuclear vessels.
Under a new security partnership unveiled last Wednesday between Australia, Britain and the United States, known as AUKUS, Australia will build nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology.
Australia then announced it would scrap the deal with France signed in 2016 to purchase 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
The deal has provoked widespread concern across the world, with many experts and observers lamenting the deal's long shadow over regional security in the Asia-Pacific and on global non-proliferation endeavor.
AUKUS, the new partnership, "is creating security anxieties" in the Asia and Pacific region and "putting many countries like the Philippines in guessing game scenarios," said Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Banlaoi warned that Washington and London's decision to help Australia build nuclear submarine capabilities could "intensify major power competition" in the region.
Aside from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Banlaoi said Australia also faces a problem with its immediate neighbor New Zealand, because of that country's "very strong position on nuclear weapons-free principle."
Speaking at a webinar organized by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University on Monday, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the deal has massive flaws.
Rudd said the Australian government's unilateral repeal of the submarine contract with France and switch to nuclear-powered submarines took place like "a bolt from the blue."
This is not the way to treat the French partner, friend and ally, said Rudd, who is now president and CEO of non-profit organization Asia Society.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service