The United States, United Kingdom and Australia announced on Wednesday the creation of a new trilateral security association, and the initiative led to a complaint from France and China, which strained diplomatic relations between these countries.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, formalized the announcement of the agreement during a virtual meeting.
In a joint statement, the three governments said that the partnership, called “AUKUS”, will help “significantly deepen cooperation in the fields of security and defense capabilities.”
However, the first initiative of the AUKUS agreement has already caused a diplomatic incident. As part of the agreement, Australia will receive a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
The news was not well received in Paris, where Chancellor Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced this Thursday that President Biden’s announcement of an alliance with Australia means breaking an important contract for the sale of French submarines. And even the French minister compared the methodology of the Democratic government with the way of acting of Donald Trump.
“This decision one-sided, brutal, unpredictableIt is very similar to what President Trump did, “said Le Drian, who insisted that” this is not done between allies “and will have consequences.
The anger of the French government was generated because from the agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia canceled a contract of about 56,000 million euros for the sale of nuclear submarines.
The head of French diplomacy declared that “it is a blow to the back” of Australia that “has betrayed” the “relationship of trust” that had been established between the two countries.
“This is not done between allies,” he stressed before warning that the Australians will have to clarify how they intend to break the contracts that were the result of talks that began in 2014 and that in 2019 had established the conditions and deadlines for the delivery of the first submarine. in 2023.
In a joint statement, the Chancellor and Defense Minister Florence Parly; they considered that the US commitment to that alliance that “leads to discard a European ally and partner such as France.”
According to the Australian government, its intention is to build the submarines in Adelaide, a coastal city in the south of the country, in cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civilian nuclear capability,” it said, promising to fulfill all its nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
Meanwhile, the British Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace, clarified this Thursday that the United Kingdom does not intend to arouse the antagonism of France with the signing of this defense pact.
According to Biden and Johnson, the nuclear-powered submarines Australia wants to acquire are conventionally armed, and their countries will also be fully in line with their non-proliferation obligations.
To all this, China defined the sale “extremely irresponsible” of US nuclear submarines to Australia, within the framework of this new alliance in which the United Kingdom is also present.
“Cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia on nuclear submarines seriously undermines regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race and compromises international nuclear non-proliferation efforts, “said Chinese diplomacy spokesman Zhao Lijian.
Faced with this statement, the Australian Prime Minister clarified that Chinese President Xi Jinping has an “open invitation” to discuss the new defense pact between Canberra, Washington and London.
Referring to this agreement that he described as a “forever relationship”, Morrison explained that he hopes to share with Xi the joint desire to see an Indo-Pacific region that lives in peace and where the “sovereignty and independence of nations” is respected.
For her part, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reported that future nuclear submarines they will be banned in your country under denuclearization laws of the 1980s that prevent the deployment, testing and storage of nuclear waste, as well as the scale-up of nuclear powered ships on your territory.
But this pact that would give Canberra a greater role in the region in a context of geostrategic pulse between Washington and Beijing in an area that spans between the west coast of Africa and the eastern Pacific, may also further deteriorate the tense diplomatic, political and political relations. trade between China and Australia.
With information from agencies