Oris Johnson said the new security pact between Britain and Australia and the United States would make “the world safer” and create hundreds of jobs at home.
In part of a joint security declaration given along with President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison, he said the three countries would “work hand in glove to maintain security and stability in the Indo-Pacific”.
The pact will see nations share technology and intelligence and allow Australia to deploy a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, although Prime Minister Morrison was sorry to point out that they would not be armed with nuclear weapons.
The leaders outlined the agreement in a three-way virtual message from each of their capitals.
Johnson called it an important decision for Australia to acquire the technology.
“This is going to be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world,” he said.
U.S. officials said the partnership, which will also involve cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology and cyber, “was not aimed at a single country” but would be seen broadly as a response to China’s growing power in the region.
The pact, known as AUKUS, will involve Australia in scrapping a multi-billion dollar program to build French-designed submarines and instead build its nuclear-powered fleet with American and British technology.
Johnson said the pact would last “for decades” and create “hundreds of highly skilled jobs” across the country.
He said: “Perhaps the most significant thing will be that Britain, Australia and the United States will be connected even more closely, reflecting the mat of trust between us, the depth of our friendship and the lasting strength of our common values of freedom and democracy. .
“Now the UK will embark on this project with our allies, making the world safer and creating jobs throughout the UK.”
The newly installed Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, said the pact would “promote stability in a region that is becoming increasingly important to Britain’s prosperity and security”.
In a statement released online, Downing Street said the new submarines “will promote stability in the Indo-Pacific and will be deployed in support of our common values and interests”.
Johnson said: “This partnership will become increasingly important in defending our interests in the Indo-Pacific and, by extension, protecting our people at home.”