China Daily (Hong Kong)
Southeast Asian nations view AUKUS with caution
Southeast Asian governments remain cautious of the newly established security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as the trilateral pact could spark tension and undermine the region’s stance on maintaining a nuclear-free zone, analysts said.
While the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has yet to release an official statement on the pact, some individual members of the 10-nation bloc have expressed concerns about the AUKUS alliance’s first initiative of delivering a nuclear-powered submarine fleet to Australia and possibly other “defensive capabilities”.
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the new trilateral alliance might lead to an arms race in the Indo-Pacific region, and he asked all parties to avoid provocation and arms competition.
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Indonesia “takes note cautiously” of Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines and is “deeply concerned with the continuing arms race and power projection in the region”.
The ministry emphasized the importance of Australia’s commitment to continue meeting all of its nuclear nonproliferation obligations and encouraged Australia and other parties concerned to use dialogue in peacefully settling any differences.
“In this regard, Indonesia underscores respect for international law, including UNCLOS 1982, in maintaining peace and security in the region,” the ministry said, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which both Indonesia and Australia have ratified.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he hoped that AUKUS would contribute constructively to the peace and stability of the region and complement the regional architecture.