The Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, was convinced that the agreement with the United States for the supply of nuclear submarines to Australia was on the right track. “I am very confident, and last night I spoke to his defense secretary, Lloyd Austin,” Albanese told the media.

Austin and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland for the annual Australia-US Ministerial Meeting (AUSMIN), focused on progress on the submarine deal, regional security and clean energy.

Republicans in the US Congress oppose the sale of submarines

The AUKUS pact, first announced in 2021, is a security alliance between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Under the deal, the US is expected to sell Australia three Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines.

Blinken and Austin will discuss the agreement with Albanese and other Australian officials on Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, 25 US Republican lawmakers have written to President Joe Biden saying the sale of submarines to Australia would “unacceptably weaken” the US fleet as there is no clear plan to replace them.

Despite this, Albanese expressed his confidence in the deal due to talks he had with Republicans and Democrats during the NATO summit held in Lithuania on July 11. He said he was surprised by his unanimous support for the US-Australia relationship, which he says has “never been stronger.”

Australia will invest in the AUKUS deal.

As part of the AUKUS deal, Australia has agreed to invest A$3 billion in the US submarine industrial base.

“There is pressure on the American industrial base. We have understood it well. That is why we will contribute to it,” Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said in an interview with Sky Television on Friday.

He added that the agreement is advantageous for all three parties because Australia will develop an industrial base that will add to the net capacity of the three countries.

The AUKUS deal is expected to cost Australia up to $2 billion a year over a 30-year period.

Security allies to discuss China amid tensions.

Australia is restructuring its defense forces in response to China’s military expansion and its plans to increase its long-range strike capability and domestic missile production.

The United States and Australia will also discuss China’s security ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region at the AUSMIN summit.

Lloyd Austin stated that both Australia and the United States are concerned about China’s attempts to depart from international law. He added that Washington will defend its allies against China’s “intimidating behavior” in the Pacific.

Ahead of the meeting with Austin, Australian Defense Minister Marles stressed that it is time to work with allies and that “Australia has no better friend than the United States of America.”

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong also told the media that the United States is “indispensable for balance in the region.”

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