Canberra [Australia], September 18 (ANI/Sputnik): The tripartite security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS), under which Canberra plans to create a nuclear submarine fleet, could trigger a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
"AUKUS could potentially be a catalyst towards a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as provoke other powers to act more aggressively, especially within the South China Sea region," Ismail Sabri told his Australian counterpart in a telephone conversation on Friday, as quoted by The Star newspaper.
In a conversation during which Scott Morrison notified the Malaysian prime minister of AUKUS' creation, Ismail Sabri stressed that Malaysia adheres to the principles of preserving the Indo-Pacific as a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality, as cited in the report.
On Wednesday, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a defence partnership dubbed AUKUS, which allows Australia to acquire nuclear-propelled submarines from the two partners.
Several countries, including Russia and Indonesia, have expressed their concern over the partnership and called for compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. France was angered by the fact that Australia preferred AUKUS to a USD 66 billion contract it signed earlier with Paris to receive 12 conventionally powered submarines. (ANI/Sputnik)