AUKUS's Footprint in Asia, Two Years In
Weekly Newsletters

AUKUS's Footprint in Asia, Two Years In



21 September 2023

Two years after the announcement of the AUKUS trilateral security pact, we share new expert analysis by Nobuyasu Abe and Eunjung Lim on whether Japan and South Korea should join the strategic partnership. We also feature past APLN analysis on AUKUS’s impact in the Asia-Pacific by Manpreet Sethi, Allen Behm, and Mely Caballero-Anthony.

We also share the latest activities from our network, including analysis on the Kim-Putin summit, the geopolitics of the new India-Middle East-Europe corridor, and the need for trust and confidence building following the Fukushima water release.

Should Japan Join AUKUS?

In this week’s APLN Korea Times column, Nobuyasu Abe discusses the ways in which Japan can enhance security through cooperation with the US and other AUKUS members, but warns that these efforts must be done in tandem with initiatives aimed at arms control, risk reduction, and crisis management.

Read the Korea Times column

CORRECTED: AUKUS Strand B: opportunity for South Korea and Japan?

The United Kingdom House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee recently published a report on how the UK should approach the Indo-Pacific. Notably, the report suggests that the UK should propose that South Korea and Japan be included in the AUKUS partnership.

In this piece, Eunjung Lim urges South Korean and Japanese policy experts to seriously consider the proposal while being careful not to turn China into an adversary.

Read the commentary


When AUKUS was first announced in September 2021, APLN worked with APLN members and experts to bring you an analytical series on how the trilateral security pact impacted the Asia-Pacific. They offered regional perspectives on how AUKUS was being received in Asian countries, what to make of the then-proposed nuclear-powered submarine deal, and what the partnership meant for nonproliferation norms in the region.

We’ve included their pieces below, along with subsequent APLN expert analysis on AUKUS by Natalie Sambhi, John Gower, and Collin Koh.

In last week’s commentary piece on AUKUS, Natalie Sambhi discussed the evolving relationship between Indonesia and AUKUS and described how Indonesia has shifted from initial skepticism about the deal towards begrudging acceptance.

AUKUS After San Diego: The real challenges and nuclear risks

John Gower argued that AUKUS does not pose a nuclear proliferation risk, but cautions against the US acquisition of SLCM-N, which would undermine the deterrent value of AUKUS.

AUKUS and Risks of Submarine Proliferation: A preliminary assessment

Collin Koh argued that AUKUS isn’t responsible for submarine proliferation but says it’s time for the Asia-Pacific region to more seriously consider preventive measures.

The Gamble of AUKUS: Eroding the Rules of Nuclear Non-Proliferation?

Karla Mae G. Pabeliña wrote that Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States must ensure that their AUKUS nuclear-powered subs pact will conform to non-proliferation.

This special report by Tanya Ogilvie-White and John Gower explored the potential risks, benefits and geopolitical implications of Australia’s nuclear submarine programme as a part of AUKUS.

APLN Senior Research Adviser Manpreet Sethi argued that there are two prisms through which India can perceive AUKUS – first, from that of its national security with particular concern about China; and second, from that of the precedent it sets with regional and global security implications.

An Underwater Nuclear Race: After Australia, South Korea may be next to take the plunge in Asia-Pacific

APLN Policy Fellow Joel Ivre Petersson examined South Korea’s quest for nuclear submarines and how the AUKUS deal risked undermining the non-proliferation norm in the Asia Pacific.

APLN Senior Associate Fellow John Tilemann argued that while AUKUS is compatible with IAEA nuclear safeguards, it distracted attention from other pressing issues like Iran and North Korea.

Implications of the AUKUS Deal

Chung-in Moon, Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Marty Natalegawa, and Sharon Squassoni shared their thoughts on the AUKUS deal, including on how ASEAN should respond to the partnership and whether the United States had fully considered the implications of AUKUS in regard to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Mely Caballero-Anthony argued that AUKUS could undermine ASEAN states’s approach to an inclusive and stable order, as well as heightening nuclear security risks and major power rivalry in the region.

AUKUS Nuclear-Powered Submarine Deal – Non-proliferation Aspects

John Carlson provided a brief overview of the nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards aspects of Australia’s proposal to build and operate nuclear-powered submarines as part of AUKUS.

Allan Behm explained the implications of the AUKUS deal on China, Russia, DPRK and other nuclear-armed states, as well as knock-on effects on Japan and ROK.

In the first of APLN’s initial series on the AUKUS deal, Gareth Evans argued that the AUKUS Nuclear-Powered Submarine Deal was no cause for concern.

APLN has over 150 members from 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Each week we feature their latest contributions
to global and regional security debates.

See all member activities







Helen Clark Joins the Elders as Group Continues Push for Courageous Leadership on Existential Threats

Helen Clark, former Primer Minister of New Zealand and former UNDP Administrator, has been admitted to a prestigious, select group of global leaders known as The Elders, who advocate for social justice, human rights, sustainability and peace.

U.S. Uneasy, Powerless as North Korea’s Kim Arrives in Russia to Meet Putin

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, was quoted in the Washington Times, where he highlighted that current sanctions and pressure may have reached their limits in influencing Russia and the DPRK, potentially pushing these nations closer together.

The Geopolitics of the New India-Middle East-Europe Corridor

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology, wrote for the Diplomat on the geopolitics of the new India-Middle East-Europe Corridor, arguing that IMEC is touted as a counter to China’s BRI, but the scale and scope of the latter initiative is much greater. 

The Indo-Pacific Power Play

Shyam Saran, former Indian Foreign Secretary, wrote for the Business Standard, arguing that the US bolstering its alliances in the region to counter China puts India’s strategic autonomy to the test.

Fukushima Water Release: Trusting Scientific Innovation and Nuclear Safety Regime

Mely Caballero-Anthony, Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), co-wrote a commentary with Julius Cesar Trajano on the Fukushima water release, arguing that Japan’s decision needs to be backed by efforts to build trust and confidence at multiple levels amidst politicisation of the issue and threats to the health of our oceans. 

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