News ID: 316383
Published: 0245 GMT September 17, 2021

China, France, EU denounce US-UK-Australia security alliance

China, France, EU denounce US-UK-Australia security alliance
NAOMI JOHNSON/AP
The USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) submarine returns to US Naval Base in Guam, on August 19, 2021.

France accuses Biden of stabbing it in the back

China, France and the European Union denounced a new Indo-Pacific security alliance between the United States, Britain and Australia.

US President Joe Biden announced the new Australia-US-Britain defence alliance in a joint statement on Wednesday, extending US nuclear submarine technology to Australia as well as cyber defence, applied artificial intelligence and undersea capabilities.

Under the arrangement, dubbed AUKUS, the United States and Britain will provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, according to Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the three countries were "severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying an arms race, and damaging international nuclear non-proliferation efforts".

"China always believes that any regional mechanism should conform to the trend of peace and development of the times and help enhance mutual trust and cooperation... It should not target any third party or undermine its interests," he told a regular briefing in Beijing.

China has its own "very substantive programme of nuclear submarine building", Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued Friday in an interview with radio station 2GB, according to AFP.

"They have every right to take decisions in their national interests for their defence arrangements and of course so does Australia and all other countries," he said.

Biden, Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not mention China by name in the joint announcement and senior Biden administration officials, who briefed reporters ahead of time, said the partnership was not aimed at countering Beijing, according to Reuters.

Johnson said the pact was not meant to be adversarial and said it would reduce the costs of Britain's next generation of nuclear submarines.

 

France’s ire

 

France, which loses its own submarine deal with Australia, called the plans brutal and unpredictable.

The partnership ends Australia's 2016 deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build it a new submarine fleet worth $40 billion to replace its more than two-decades-old Collins submarines, a spokesperson for Morrison told Reuters.

France accused Biden of stabbing it in the back and acting like his predecessor Donald Trump.

"This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do," Le Drian told franceinfo radio. "I am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies."

Morrison said on Friday he had raised the possibility that Australia might scrap the 2016 submarine deal with a French company in talks with the French President Emmanuel Macron in June, rejecting French criticism that it had not been warned.

 

Need for more assertive foreign policy

 

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the new partnership, on which the EU was not consulted, showed the need for a more assertive European foreign policy.

"We must survive on our own, as others do," Borrell said as he presented a new EU strategy for the Indo-Pacific region. "I understand the extent to which the French government must be disappointed."

The security initiative appears to have brought Biden’s summer of love with Europe to an abrupt end. AUKUS, which notably excludes France and the European Union, is just the latest in a series of steps, from Afghanistan to East Asia, that have taken Europe aback, AP wrote.

After promising European leaders that “America is back” and that multilateral diplomacy would guide US foreign policy, Biden has alienated numerous allies with a go-it-alone approach on key issues.

Some have compared Biden’s recent actions to those of his predecessor, Trump, under Trump’s “America First” doctrine. That’s surprising for a president steeped in international affairs who ran for the White House vowing to mend shaken ties with allies and restore US credibility on the world stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
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