Episode 47: Can AUKUS Deter China?

Launched against the backdrop of a deteriorating security environment in the Indo-Pacific, will AUKUS prove an effective counterbalance to Chinese dominance in the region?

AUKUS, the tripartite deal between the US, the UK and Australia, caused considerable surprise and French consternation when it was announced in 2021. It involves acquiring a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia, forecast to cost up to $368 billion between now and the mid-2050s, as well as aiming to boost defence capabilities, accelerate technological integration, and expand the industrial capacity of all three countries.

Beijing has branded the plan ‘a blatant act that constitutes serious nuclear proliferation risks, undermines the international non-proliferation system, fuels arms races, and hurts peace and stability in the region’.

In this episode, host Neil Melvin sits down with Dr Bates Gill, Executive Director of the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Centre for China Analysis, and Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of the National Security College (NSC) at the Australian National University, to discuss the future of AUKUS. Can the three countries deliver on their high ambitions? Can AUKUS reinforce deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and change the security and defence calculations of China? This episode of Global Security Briefing was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, as part of our project ‘Meeting the Challenge of China in the Indo-Pacific’.

The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.

Meeting the Challenge of China in the Indo-Pacific

This project explores the potential for transatlantic cooperation on Indo-Pacific policy to manage the implications of China’s influence for security, defence, technology and trade.


Dr Neil Melvin

Director, International Security

International Security

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Dr Bates Gill

Senior Associate Fellow; Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies at Macquarie University, Australia

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