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AUKUS, the new military agreement between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, generated an angry rejection in France: Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the oceanic nation had “attacked them from behind” and “betrayed” the “relationship of trust” between the two countries.
Le Drian also did not spare criticism of the US: President Joe Biden said on the radio station ‘France Info’ that “This unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision is a lot like what President Trump did.” Messages that can well be concentrated in another of the phrases issued by the French Chancellor: “This is not done between allies.”
As part of the agreement, Australia canceled a million-dollar contract with the French company Naval Group and now the submarines will be made by the US and will have nuclear technology. “A movement that China has not liked either, which requires Australia to respect the agreements in the Indo-Pacific region against nuclear use,” he said. France24.
In addition, from France they feel that the new alliance has geostrategic implications and they feel marginalized in a region where they have a great territorial and sovereign presence with numerous archipelagos and islands such as Polynesia, New Caledonia and Reunion.
The European Union (EU) has also expressed surprise at the AUKUS agreement announced Wednesday between Australia, the US and the UK. The EU’s high representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, said that the bloc was not previously informed about the pact and noted that its announcement marks a good moment for “Raise the reflection on the issue of strategic autonomy” of the Union.
“The plan is seen by analysts as an effort to counter Beijing’s presence in the South China Sea. The region has been in dispute for years, “he recalled. BBC Mundo. Although the announcement of the agreement did not mention China directly, the leaders of the US, the United Kingdom and Australia repeatedly referred to regional security concerns. which, they said, had “grown significantly.”
According to the signatories, the new pact AUKUS seeks to strengthen cooperation in advanced defense technologies, such as artificial intelligence, underwater systems and long-distance surveillance. And, although China has not been named, it is also seen as a move to counter Beijing’s power in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australia’s contract with Naval Group was valued at 56,000 million euros, emerged from talks in 2014 and the delivery of the first of twelve submarines was expected in 2027. Now Australia is betting, under the AUKUS pact, on at least eight American submarines.
The main novelty is that the technology of the new ships will have nuclear propulsion, using the experience of the United States. The French submarines were to be diesel-electric.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morison justified the decision: “Of course they are disappointed (…) They have been good partners. It is about our strategic interest, our strategic capacity requirements, and a new geopolitical environment and we had to make that decision ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.