A deceived France has joined China in attacking Australia as the drama over the nuclear submarine deal with the United States and the United Kingdom refuses to go away.
A “deceived” France is targeting Australia, along with China, while the drama over the nuclear submarine agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom refuses to disappear.
France slammed Australia overnight after its Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Jakarta for a two-day visit with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and senior officials .
Mr Le Drian, who signed France’s deal with Australia in 2019, has spent the last few weeks whipping up the new deal, and during his visit to Indonesia he ostensibly omitted Australia in detail of the French Indo-Pacific strategy. He also said France felt “cheated”.
“The challenge is to take stock of the new international order where the cards are reshuffled everywhere on all subjects,” he said. during a speech on the French Strategy on the Indo-Pacific at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Mr Le Drian criticized the US and UK for “breaking with tradition,” but Australia’s old submarine deal with France was particularly highlighted.
“We thought we had a good industrial partnership,” he said.
“It ended in a second, out of the blue. This is not correct, but so be it.
“Within NATO, the United States and the United Kingdom are our allies. Of course, Australia is not one of them.
“Nevertheless, they are historically our allies and they acted behind our back on military, strategic matters, they did not tell us about it and we learned all this by listening to a press conference.”
Mr Le Drian called it a “crisis of confidence”.
“[It was] a kind of betrayal. The second element is a crisis of confidence between historical partners, which is even more worrying.
Le Drian said that after the UKUS announcement in September, the French called the US ambassador who gave them “very clear explanations”.
At the time, France called Australia’s decision a “stab in the back”.
He said that France’s relations with America were on good terms because the United States not only provided the necessary “explanations” but “made commitments to us on a number of issues including European defense. “.
Speaking to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, Mr. Le Drian cemented France’s focus on the Indo-Pacific without Australia, stating: “The core of this commitment is our vision of an Indo-Pacific. Free and open Pacific, based on the rule of law. , and respect for the sovereignty of each state.
He also affirmed that the Indo-Pacific region will be at the center of the work of the European Union under the leadership of France once it assumes the rotating presidency of the EU.
“The Australians may have lost”
At the beginning of the week, Mr. Le Drian declared on French television: “The submarines, for me, are not finished. The subject is not closed. The Australians may have lost a lot more than they realize.
“It’s a project for now. The three [US, UK and AU] came to an agreement. But on what? On the fact that in 18 months there will be a project. At the moment, there is nothing.
“The subject that was posed by the Australian Prime Minister was to say: ‘I’m doing this because I’m afraid of China.’ “
Last week he told the French newspaper The world that if France’s relations with the United States improve: “Things are not moving with Australia, its Prime Minister is digging its heels with denials and contradictions.
In another snub, Australia was notably absent in a video on social networks published by the French government before Mr. Le Drian’s trip.
The Sydney Morning HeraldSouth East Asia correspondent Chris Barrett reported that Australia “notably missed the cup.”
According to the publication, the video states, “We share this vision with our partners in the region. Old partners like India and Japan, and more recent partners like Indonesia and Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand and ASEAN, which brings together 10 Asian countries from the South East.
China continued to target Australia just days after Chinese leader Xi Jinping made a rare appearance hours after Australia signed a deal “Major step” of the historic submarine agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom.
On Monday, Defense Minister Peter Dutton signed a formal agreement in the first step of the controversial AUKUS deal to acquire nuclear submarines.
Mr Dutton appeared in a ceremony alongside US Charge d’Affaires Michael Goldman and UK High Commissioner Victoria Treadell for the Pact, meaning the US and UK can now share information secret on ships with Australia.
In an editorial by South China Morning Post, columnist Zhou Bo accused Australia of having lost France’s confidence.
“Looking into the abyss helps to take a step back. If a conflict did arise, with the possible exception of Japan and Australia, no American ally would wish to side with the United States, ”Bo wrote.
“One can hardly imagine that Thailand, an American ally and a friend of China, would follow the United States into war with China under any circumstances.
“If the United States has succeeded in convincing Australia to alienate China, as has been proven with the AUKUS submarine agreement, it has lost the confidence of France, another important ally .
“The immediate result is zero, the long-term benefit is inconsequential. “
The deal, first announced in September, caused an international headache for Scott Morrison, when the prime minister was sensational reprimanded by Emmanuel Macron after the French president called him a liar.
Mr Morrison told reporters in Glasgow he would not have “insulted the police” on Australia’s integrity and that he did not apologize for his decision to drop a sub-contract. $ 90 billion sailor with France.
Mr Macron accused Mr Morrison of lying by not revealing that Australia was in talks with the UK and the US over the acquisition of nuclear submarines before withdrawing from the French agreement.
Mr Macron made the extraordinary comment to Australian journalists at the G20 summit in Rome, after weeks of escalating diplomatic tensions between France and Australia.
“I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for [Australian] people, ”he said.
“I’m just saying that when we have respect you have to be real and you have to behave in accordance and in a manner consistent with that value.”
When asked if he thought Mr. Morrison lied to him, he replied, “I don’t think so. I know.”
In response, Mr Morrison said he did not want to “personalize the spat” but would not accept “statements questioning the integrity of Australia”.
“I don’t want to personalize this,” Mr. Morrison said.
“There is no element of that from my point of view. I have to say that I think the statements that have been made questioning the integrity of Australia and the insults that have been placed on Australia, not me, I have broad shoulders. I can cope with this.
“But those insults, I’m not going to be a cop sledging in Australia.” I’m not going to do this on behalf of the Australians.
“I can deal with whatever people throw at me. But Australia has a proud record when it comes to our defense capability. That is why we are going to build them. We will build more. And Australia’s service record, I think, doesn’t need to be developed. And so that’s where we are.
He said conventional diesel submarines allegedly built under the deal with France would not have met Australia’s strategic needs.
“I have to put Australia’s interests above any interest that potentially offends others,” he said.
“The [French] Submarine contract was an important investment decision made five years ago. At this point, given the strategic circumstances, time and technology available to Australia, the attack class submarine was the right decision.
“But there have been some significant changes that have taken place in our strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific that have completely changed the game.”
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