The French government on Wednesday issued an angry response to the United States’ agreement with the United Kingdom and Australia to provide Australia with nuclear submarines.
French Minister Of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-yves Le Drian and Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, in a sharply worded joint statement, said the decision that was announced by President Joe Biden “is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust as well as on the development of a very high-level defence industrial and technological base in Australia.”
“The American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France from a structuring partnership with Australia, at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, whether in terms of our values or in terms of respect for multilateralism based on the rule of law, shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret,” the statement added.
On Wednesday, Biden joined Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to jointly announce the creation of an enhanced security partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region to share submarine technology with Australia.
During the announcement, Biden made reference to France and said the country has a substantial presence in the region, adding that the United States considers France a “key partner and ally in strengthening the security and prosperity of the region.”
“The United States looks forward to working closely with France and other key countries as we go forward,” Biden said, without elaborating.
But during the same announcement, Morrison confirmed that Australia pulled out of a reported $66 billion deal with France to produce nuclear submarines. Instead, he added, Australia will produce nuclear-powered submarines using UK and U.S. technology.
Le Drian on Thursday described the announcement as a “stab in the back” to France, adding that “trust has been broken.”
The foreign minister also excoriated Biden for embarking on a “brutal” and “unilateral” decision that he described as reminiscent of foreign policy moves made by his predecessor, President Donald Trump.
Following the angry missives, Johnson and Morrison on Thursday both stressed that France is still an important ally in the region. Johnson described the France-UK relationship as “rock solid” during an interview, reported the BBC, while Morrison said that French officials were “good partners.”
“Of course they’re disappointed,” Morrison said in response to the joint statement from Le Drian and Parly, reported The Associated Press. “They’ve been good partners. This is about our strategic interest, our strategic capability requirements and a changed strategic environment and we’ve had to take that decision.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for comment.