As Canberra signed a trilateral Asia-Pacific security agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom, the multi-billion-dollar submarine deal with Australia was disrupted, and EU leaders supported France.
The security protocol is called Aucos, Including the sale of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia and tensioning relations between Western nations before the start of this week’s annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
After a closed-door meeting held on the sidelines of the conference, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell stated that “more cooperation, more coordination, and less division” are needed to achieve a stable and peaceful Indo-Pacific region. Among them, China is the main rising power.
Borrell said that the EU foreign ministers “clearly expressed their solidarity with France.”
“This statement runs counter to the call to strengthen cooperation with the EU in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Earlier Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the United States of betrayal and Australia’s backstab.
Le Drian called on Europeans to “think seriously” about the alliance and accused the administration of US President Joe Biden of continuing the “unilateralism, unpredictability, brutality, and disrespect for your partner” of his predecessor Donald Trump.
The United States is trying to calm the anger of NATO ally France, and Biden will have a phone call with French President Macron in the next few days.
“We are allies, we can speak, and we will not hide different well-designed strategies. This is the cause of the crisis of trust,” Le Drian said. “So all of this needs clarification and explanation. This may take time.”
Australia signed an agreement to purchase French diesel-powered submarines in 2016. When the AUKUS agreement allowed Australia to obtain American nuclear-powered ship technology, the agreement was cancelled.
For several years, France has been promoting a European strategy to promote economic, political, and defense relations in the Indo-Pacific region extending from India and China to Japan and New Zealand. The European Union also announced its plans for the Indo-Pacific region last week.
“America is back?”
Biden is scheduled to speak at the United Nations on Tuesday. He has always hoped to turn a page in Trump’s turbulent presidency and reassure traditional allies in the face of China’s rise.
China, which already has nuclear-powered submarines, condemned the agreement, and Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the region on Friday against “interference by outside forces.”
China claims that Taiwan is its own, is involved in maritime disputes with Japan, and claims that almost all South China Sea, Where it built artificial islands for military bases. It rejected competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, and criticized the so-called “freedom of navigation” operations of the US Navy in the region.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, said it is difficult for him to understand the actions of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Why? The United States is back because of the new Joe Biden administration. This is a historic message from the new government, and now we have questions. What does this mean—the United States is back? Is the United States back to the United States or something else? Where? We don’t know,” he told reporters in New York.
“We have observed a clear lack of transparency and loyalty.”
US officials said the French-speaking secretary of state Anthony Brinken, who grew up in Paris, tried to contain the impact of the agreement in a conversation with the French ambassador to Washington on Friday.
Later ambassador recall Protested in Paris. France has also recalled its senior diplomats in Canberra.
When asked if there will be a bilateral meeting between Brinken and Le Drian, Erica Bacchus-Ruggles, a senior State Department official, said that “the agenda will remain dynamic.”