French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian – Photo: AFP
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Franceinfo Radio on September 16: “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do. It was a breakdown. trust and I am extremely angry.”
Earlier, on the morning of September 16, the media reported that Britain, the United States, and Australia started building nuclear submarines. Under the agreement, the US will provide Australia with the technology and the ability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines. The submarines will be built in Adelaide (Australia) in close cooperation with the US and UK.
According to Reuters news agency, the “handshake” between the UK, the US and Australia made the US$40 billion French-designed submarine deal go up in smoke.
In 2016, Australia selected the French Navy Shipbuilding Corporation to build a new fleet of submarines worth $40 billion, to replace its 20-year-old Collins submarines. Two weeks ago, the Australian foreign and defense ministers reconfirmed the agreement with their French counterparts. However, the deal has been plagued with problems and delays as Australia requires most of its manufacturing and components to be sourced domestically.
Perhaps anticipating Paris’ reaction, at the ceremony to announce the agreement to build nuclear submarines for Australia on September 16 (Vietnam time), US President Joe Biden affirmed that France remains “an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region”.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he understood France’s frustration with Australia over the “broken contract”, but said the deal between Britain, the US and Australia was not a betrayal with France because of its agreement. France with Australia has been cancelled.
He said Britain’s defense industry would get a boost from the new nuclear submarine deal with Australia, adding that Britain has subsystems that Australia doesn’t have.