Boris Johnson is due to make an announcement on national security alongside US and Australian allies amid reports the three countries have agreed a new alliance to counter China.
Downing Street said the statement would see the Prime Minister, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison appear together on camera at 10pm on Wednesday evening.
Reports have suggested the joint announcement will confirm that the US will provide a nuclear-powered submarine to Canberra, with Australia deciding to abandon its 90 billion dollar submarine deal with France.
According to Politico, the trio will announce a new working group, known by the acronym AUUKUS, to make it easier for the three countries to share information in key technological areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities.
The news outlet said sources had put forward that the “subtext” to the move was a bid by Western allies to “push back on China’s rise in the military and technology arenas”.
The attempt to secure an allied nuclear-powered submarine in the Pacific is seen as a tool to “contain Chinese military expansion”, said Politico.
Earlier this year, in the integrated review of security and foreign policy, the UK Government outlined plans for a “tilt” in focus towards the Indo-Pacific, with aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth being deployed on a voyage east – a decision said to be about sending a message to Beijing and Russia about Britain’s military might.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “At 2200 BST tonight the Prime Minister will make an on-camera address, alongside US President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Morrison, on a strategic national security announcement.”