A German executive vying for a lucrative Australian submarine contract on Thursday said that awarding the contract to Japan could damage Australia’s relationship with China.
German’s ThysennKrupp Marine Systems, Japan’s Mitsubishi and French company DCNS are in the running to build 12 conventional submarines that the Australian navy expects will cost at least 56 billion Australian dollars ($43 billion). The government expects to award the contract this year, with Japan regarded as a favorite early in the bidding process due to its close military relationship with Australia and the Unites States.
Hans Atzpodien, the German company’s chairman, described the Japanese bid as a choice for Australia between its relationship with China, its biggest trading partner, and Japan, its second biggest partner.
“Maybe it is an advantage dealing with us not to be in a position where you have to — let’s say — decide between certain heavyweights of the Pacific area,” Atzpodien told Australia’s National Press Club.
Japanese defense officials argue that the military partnership between Japan and Australia will enhance peace and stability, especially maritime security, in the Asia-Pacific region amid China’s military buildup in the East and South China seas. Read more