Australia said on Thursday it will increase defense spending by nearly A$30 billion ($21.57 billion) over the next 10 years, seeking to protect the country's interests as the United States and its allies grapple with China's rise in the Asia-Pacific region.
As part of the expansion, Australia committed to a continuous naval shipbuilding program to build nine new frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels, as well as acquire 12 new submarines, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. The supplier of the submarines will determined later this year.
Reuters reported earlier this month the competition for the A$50 billion ($36 billion)contract to build Australia's next submarine fleet is narrowing to a race between Japan and France.
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