Sydney — Australia said on Sunday that it had expressed concern to Paris a few months ago, defending its decision to abandon its multi-billion dollar orders for French submarines and instead choose an alternative deal between the United States and the United Kingdom. rice field.
Canberra’s move has created an unprecedented diplomatic crisis in which analysts say it could cause permanent damage to the US alliance between France and Europe. He also blamed China, a major rising country in the Indo-Pacific region.
A French government spokesman said on Sunday that President Emmanuel Macron would call US President Joe Biden “within a few days.” Paris has recalled envoys to Washington and Canberra for consultation.
“I don’t regret the decision to put Australia’s national interest first,” Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
Morrison said he understands France’s disappointment with the cancellation of orders. Worth $ 40 billion in 2016 and considered to be much more expensive today, Australia has reiterated that it must always make decisions in the best interests.
“This was an issue I raised directly a few months ago, and we continued to discuss these issues, including the Defense Minister,” he told the briefing.
Under the new trilateral security partnership, Australia will build at least eight nuclear submarines with US and British technology. The abandoned deal signed with the French Navy group in 2016 was for a fleet of traditional submarines.
The new trilateral agreement casts doubt on the unified front that Biden is trying to build against China’s growing power.
“Open and honest”
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFMTV that Macron would ask for “clarification” of the cancellation over a phone call with Biden. After that, we need to discuss the terms of the contract, especially the compensation to the French side.
Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton told France that Canberra was “candid, frank and honest” about the concern. He refused to reveal the cost of the new deal, simply saying that it wouldn’t be a cheap project.
Newly appointed Foreign Minister Liz Truss said in an article released Sunday that Britain’s role in the trilateral partnership is ready to “worry” to protect its post-Brexit interests. ing.
She also said it demonstrates Britain’s commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Lydia Kelly and John Mare