Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday sought understanding from Southeast Asian nations on a security pact, known as AUKUS, under which Canberra will obtain nuclear submarines, stressing that it does not aim to acquire nuclear weapons.

Speaking at the virtual summit between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Morrison attempted to allay concerns that the AUKUS security partnership of Australia, Britain and the United States could spark a nuclear arms race in the region.

"AUKUS does not change Australia's deep, long-standing commitment to nuclear non-proliferation — Australia does not want and will not seek nuclear weapons, as I've assured all ASEAN members," Morrison told the leaders of the group.