On Wednesday evening, the prime minister will hold a video chat with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, to discuss additional bilateral collaboration with the Commonwealth ally, with Britain increasing its investment in the Indo-Pacific as part of a broader shift in foreign policy.
The planned announcement comes less than six months after Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States inked an Aukus agreement to create nuclear-powered submarines for Canberra in order to strengthen regional naval cooperation.
Wednesday’s accord, Mr. Johnson said, was part of “forging a new collaboration from a historic relationship.”
The UK would contribute £25 million in projects in the region to “strengthen resilience in cyberspace, state threats, and marine security,” according to Downing Street.
According to authorities, the agreement is about the UK portraying itself as the “European partner of choice in the Indo-Pacific,” as western attention shifts to concerns about China’s expanding influence.
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Last year, the UK government’s integrated defense and foreign policy review announced a “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific, promising increased involvement in the region, beginning with the deployment of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth through the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia in the second half of 2021.
“The UK and Australia are working together to improve regional security in the Indo-Pacific, accelerate scientific and green technology innovation, and expand possibilities for our businesses and residents,” Johnson added.
“From a historic alliance, our nations are establishing a new cooperation fit for the future century, based on our shared priorities of security, democracy, and free and fair commerce.”
Mr. Johnson was also due to speak with his Australian colleague on the current tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Furthermore, the two leaders were expected to agree to expand research and technology cooperation through a new Science Partnership Series during their meeting.
Mr. Johnson is expected to welcome fresh investments in both nations, building on the Australia-UK free trade agreement signed in December.
PEXA, an Australian finance company, is expanding into the UK as its first foreign market, while Octopus, a UK energy company, is developing a greenfield renewables project.
Octopus Australia is collaborating with an indigenous business group to develop “desert springs Octopus,” a 10-year project that will provide wind, solar, and hydrogen energy, according to No 10.
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