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UK Pledges to Strengthen Security in Indo-Pacific

The UK has promised to spend 25 million pounds (approximately $34 million) to strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific region. This is part of the pact announced with Australia. The leaders of both the UK and Australia expressed “grave concern” about China and its policy in the western region of Xinjiang. 

During a virtual call between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the leaders for peace and stability in the region (Taiwan Strait), also warned Russia against any aggression towards Ukraine. 

A joint statement issued post-meeting said: “They agreed on the need for de-escalation and underscored that any further Russian incursion in Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and have a stark humanitarian cost.”

The funds announced as part of the Indo-Pacific Security agreement would be used to improve regional resilience against state threats, maritime security, and cyberspace.  

The latest talks come after QUAD foreign ministers (of Australia, Japan, and India) met in Melbourne last week. The four leaders decided to deepen cooperation to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region remained free from “coercion,” and without naming anyone hinted at Beijing’s economic and military aggression. 

The leaders then expressed concern over human rights violations in Xinjiang, and the security situation in Taiwan Strait, the leaders also expressed concern over Myanmar and the security situation in the South China Sea.    

The leaders urged Myanmar’s junta to release all political detainees after the coup in February 2021.

The joint statement by Johnson and Morrison emphasized the importance of countries’ maritime rights and freedoms in the South China Sea in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The UK and Australia are also part of the AUKUS pact with the US. Formed in September 2021, the UK and US have promised to Australia to provide nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarines. This is likely to be delivered at the earliest date.