The United States has ruled out including India or Japan in the AUKUS security partnership in the Indo-Pacific, recently formed with Australia and the United Kingdom.
The trilateral security partnership was announced on September 15 by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Australia will get a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
"The announcement of AUKUS last week was not meant to be an indication, and I think this is the message the president also sent to (French President Emmanuel) Macron, that there is no one else who will be involved in security in the Indo-Pacific," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Wednesday.
France had criticized its exclusion from the alliance, claiming that it reflected a lack of unity in the face of common Indo-Pacific threats.
"Of course, it's a hot topic in discussions with the French and a variety of countries with direct interests in the region," she said.
Psaki was replying to a query on whether countries like India and Japan, whose leaders would be in town for the Quad Summit this week, will be included in the security alliance.
India, the United States, Japan, and Australia make up the Quad. On September 24, the United States will host the in-person Quad meeting in Washington.
"You'll have the Australians there on Friday," says the narrator (for the Quad summit). There's also India and Japan to consider. Would you anticipate a military function for them comparable to the one you've specified for the Australians?" a journalist inquired.
"AUKUS? What would it turn into? JAUKUS? JAIAUKUS?" Before responding to the question, Psaki remarked something amusing.
For the first time, the US and the UK will offer Australia the technology to create nuclear-powered submarines as part of the trilateral security pact, which is seen as an effort to confront China in the Indo-Pacific.
China has slammed the trilateral alliance, claiming that it has no future and will wreak havoc on regional peace, exacerbate the arms race, and jeopardize international non-proliferation efforts.