The prime minister has
reportedly admitted that having Australia’s next generation of submarines built in Japan
would not benefit relations with China.
The Australian Financial Review cites a report in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine on a meeting between PM
Tony Abbott and Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel, in a conversation
with Abbott at the G20 in Brisbane, spruiked Germany’s track record with submarine
building – TKMS has made submarines for Israel and South Korea – as well as its
neutrality regarding China and Japan.
According to Der Spiegel’s
report, Merkel told Abbott that if Japan’s bid to build Australian submarines
was successful, it could create tension between Australia and China.
“You are right,” was Abbott’s
The topic of where the
submarines that will replace the current Collins fleet is sensitive
domestically as well. Japan is favoured to build the new submarines, though
Abbott promised they would be made locally prior to being elected.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Mark Thomson noted last year that, “Japan hasn’t exported
sensitive military technology before and while a deal would mean ties between
two close U.S. allies would strengthen, it would be seen in China as a dark
TKMS would build the
submarines in South Australia in partnership with ASC.