The government in Paris has accused US President Joe Biden of a “stab in the back” and of pursuing “Donald Trump-style” policies. It is an agreement on defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. The pact includes helping Australia build nuclear-powered submarines.
US President Joe Biden announced with Australian and British Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson a new tripartite pact, AUKUS, focused on defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. As a result of the cooperation, Australia is to build nuclear-powered submarines based on American and British technology.
– Thanks to AUKUS, our countries will increase their capabilities to face the threats of the 21st century, as we did in the 20th century – together – Biden announced in the White House during a virtual meeting with the heads of governments of Australia and Great Britain.
“We are furious,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, commenting on the US, Australian and British alliance in the Indo-Pacific region, concluded on Wednesday night in Washington.
According to Le Drian, the deal is a stab in the back and Joe Biden made a “brutal” decision “similar to what Donald Trump did.” The contract with the Naval Group for the supply of French submarines has been negotiated since 2014 and was to provide Australia with autonomy in the field of defense – emphasized the head of British diplomacy.
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly branded the breach of contract as “bad news” and “word-breaker, the basis for a strategic security partnership” between France and Australia.
Le Drian and Parly issued a joint statement on the termination of a contract worth 56 billion euros. “This is a decision that runs counter to the letter and spirit of cooperation between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political confidence and the development of a very high level industrial and technological defense base in Australia,” the statement said.
“An American choice that leads to the removal of a European ally and partner such as France from a structured partnership with Australia at a time when we face unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, whether based on our values or on respect based on multilateralism. rule of law means incoherence that France can only regret, “added Le Drian and Parly in a press release.
Global competition in China
The new US-AU-UK initiative is widely seen as a step to strengthen allies in the context of global rivalry with China, although White House representatives emphasized during a conversation with journalists that the new initiative “is not directed against any state”.
“The decision we made not to continue with the attack-class submarine contract and take a different path is not a change of mind, it is a change of needs,” the Australian Prime Minister said on Thursday.
The French daily Le Figaro described the alliance of the US, Australia and Great Britain as “the big victory of Boris Johnson”, which did not find itself in international isolation despite Brexit.
Main photo source: Oliver Contreras / PAP / EPA