Indonesia and Malaysia on Monday voiced concerns over Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear-powered submarines from the United States.
“Although the country stated that these are nuclear-powered submarines and not nuclear-armed ones, both our governments expressed concern and disturbance,” Malaysia Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said after talks with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta.
“This could attract more power rivalry in the ASEAN region and the South China Sea,” he said.
Retno said Indonesia and Malaysia did not wish to see “an arms race and power projections” in the region.
“Such a situation will not benefit anyone,” she said.
Australia, Britain and the United States last month announced a strategic security alliance known as AUKUS that would see Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines from Washington in the next 18 months.
France reacted furiously to Australia’s decision to buy submarine technology from the US, voiding a 2016 deal with France worth 56 billion euros (66 billion dollars) to provide conventional submarines to Australia.