Friday, December 3

France reproaches Biden for behaving “like Trump” in his defense alliance with Australia

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced this Thursday that the announcement by US President Joe Biden of an alliance with Australia – which involves breaking an important contract for the sale of French submarines – resembles the form of act of Donald Trump.

“This unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision is very similar to what President Trump did,” Le Drian denounced in an interview with the France Info station in which he insisted that “this is not done between allies” and will have consequences . “Our position,” he added, “is one of great firmness, of misunderstanding and of requesting explanations and clarifications from each other.”

The defense alliance in the Indo-Pacific region between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia has had as its first effect the announcement by the latter country of the cancellation of a contract for the purchase of French conventional submarines, estimated at some 56,000 million euros, to replace it by another of American nuclear submarines.

The head of French diplomacy has said that “it is a blow to the back” from Australia that “has betrayed” the “relationship of trust” that had been established between the two countries. In addition, he has warned that the Australians will have to clarify how they intend to break the contracts that were the result of conversations that began in 2014 and that in 2019 had established the conditions and deadlines for the delivery of the first submarine in 2023.

When asked about the leaks in the press of Australia’s discontent over the increase in the cost of the program and delays, Le Drian has acknowledged that there were questions, but not of the kind that has been voiced now. In fact, he explained that both he and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, had held videoconferences with their Australian counterparts and had not revealed anything.

“It is a huge disappointment”, the Defense Minister acknowledged in a subsequent press conference, in which she stressed that Paris considers that Australia “has not kept its word”, so “we are going to study all the possibilities. “on possible compensation. The French state group Naval Group, in charge of building the twelve conventional propulsion submarines, has indicated in a statement its “great disappointment” and advanced that it will analyze “the consequences of this decision” with the Australian authorities.

China accuses the three countries of “undermining” stability

China has accused the three countries of “undermining regional stability and peace” after the signing of its ambitious trilateral defense pact that seeks to stand up to Beijing in the Indo-Pacific and that may have consequences throughout the region.

The pact, called AUKUS by the initials in English of the three Anglo-Saxon countries, aims to strengthen cooperation in advanced defense technologies, such as artificial intelligence and long-distance surveillance, in addition to providing nuclear-powered submarines to the Australian fleet, something that has not sat at all well in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has criticized that “this type of cooperation seriously undermines regional peace and stability, as well as international efforts for nuclear non-proliferation.” He has described the pact as “extremely irresponsible” since it “uses nuclear exports as a geopolitical tool”, and questioned the “sincerity” of Australia, a country that is a signatory to pacts such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the South Pacific Treaty as a Free Zone. of Nuclear Weapons.

The pact 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, although it is also bound to deteriorate the already tense diplomatic and political relations. and trade between China and Australia. For spokesman Zhao, the new pact demonstrates the “cold war mentality” of the three signatory countries, whom he asked “to do more for peace and stability.

The official press of the Asian country has also accused Washington today of “losing its mind” and of “causing a disaster.” The Global Times newspaper has reported that “if one day Australian troops run into the Chinese Army in the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea, Australia will become a target of Chinese missiles. Since this country has become a target. on an anti-China spearhead, it must prepare for the worst. ”