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Fury in France and fear of a war with China: reactions continue for Joe Biden's triple alliance

2021-09-17T17:00:49.056Z

The pact between the US, Australia and Great Britain to bring nuclear submarines to the Pacific continues to generate controversy.



Maria Laura Avignolo

09/17/2021 12:31 PM

  • Clarín.com

  • World

Updated 09/17/2021 12:32 PM

A trilateral defense pact between Australia, the United States and Great Britain in the face of growing hostility from China announced on Thursday has the aroma of the cold war.

But it is a decision that has

infuriated

both China and France, the great loser in this new alliance, which

was not even notified

in advance.

Britain and the United States will help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines, as part of a strategic alliance created in the face of an increasingly provocative China.

As a consequence, Australia is breaking

a € 56 billion agreement with France

to receive new diesel-electric submarines in favor of nuclear-powered ones, which stay underwater longer, move faster and are considered

almost "impossible to discover"

by the experts of the navy.

French submarine, FNS Amethyste sails on the Thames.

Photo: AP

Outraged France


France was furious at the decision and accused the United States and Great Britain of

"treason"

when it was their essential strategy for the Pacific.

The French government condemned the White House by surprise, which it described "as

a secretly negotiated agreement

to keep France out of the region" and favor an "Anglo-Saxon axis" to confront China.

The negotiations for the submarines had been developed under the government of Francois Hollande between 2014 and 2016 by the then defense minister Le Drian.

The French fight is "in the contract of the century" for the Naval Group, which was going to supply

12 submarines

with conventional power to Australia.

French and Australian authorities celebrate the submarine agreement in 2018.

Photo: AFP

"It's a stab in the back,"

said French Foreign Minister Jean Yves le Drian, a former defense minister.

"This unilateral decision is brutal, unforeseen and resembles the conduct of Donald Trump," denounced the current French foreign minister. "We build a relationship of trust.

That trust has been betrayed, ”he said.

The French contract for the French submarine to Australia was central to France's "coherent Indo-Pacific political structure" in the face of China's growth and hostility.

President Emmanuel Macron

ordered the cancellation of a gala in Washington

, which was organized to celebrate the Franco-American alliance.

At the same time, Dutch leader Mark Rutte will invite Great Britain to be part of

a European Union defense and security pact

during a meeting in Downing St on Friday.

Until last year Boris had refused to be part of Brexit but now Britain is more open to the American attitude in Afghanistan during his retirement.

They are going to look at regional geopolitics and the need to work with the British.

France and Great Britain supported this idea.

The reasons for the pact


In a joint statement, Boris Johnson, President Joe Biden and Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, said of the new strategic defense pact: “We will draw on the experience of the United States and the United Kingdom, building on the submarine programs of the two countries to bring Australian capacity to service

at the earliest possible date

. "

Joe Biden makes the announcements.

Photo: Bloomberg

The pact comes as

antagonism between the United States and China

deepens

, with Biden dragging allies into a stronger stance at a NATO meeting in June.

In fact the secret talks with Australia, the US and Great Britain

ended there

.

It is likely to cause more friction between China and the West.

The UK considers it to be the most significant capacity collaboration signed globally in recent decades.

China has been investing

billions in its navy

and is becoming more aggressive in the region.

The new cold war


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that while the three nations were geographically separated, "our interests and values ​​are shared," adding that they were "natural allies."

"The

AUKUS alliance

will bring us closer than ever, creating a new advocacy partnership and boosting jobs and prosperity," he said.

He declared that it would be "one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world" that would last decades and would require the most advanced technology.

It would build on the experience that the UK had acquired over generations.

US President Joe Biden clarified that nations recognized the "imperative of ensuring

long-term

peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific

."

What kind of submarines?


It is not yet clear which components Britain will provide for the submarines.

Though the companies are expected to land

significant defense contracts

as a result, creating hundreds of highly skilled engineering and scientific jobs.

Submarines would normally go

about 8 knots faster

than diesel-electric boats.

They can maintain that speed indefinitely, whereas a diesel-electric has to recharge its batteries

regularly

.

A diesel-electric submarine also

emits exhaust gases

that make it detectable, while a nuclear-powered one is much more difficult to locate.

Britain has built nuclear-powered submarines for 60 years, with work done by Rolls-Royce near Derby and BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

The Royal Australian Navy is already acquiring up to nine British Type 26 frigates.

The submarines,

which will take years to build,

could be armed with long-range Tomahawk missiles.

The partnership will also bring stronger cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and underwater drones. Johnson, President Biden and Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, announced this on Wednesday night.

The USS Illinois at Pearl Harbor-Hickam Base.

Photo: AP

Biden was forced to deny reports that President Xi declined his invitation to meet, after a 90-minute phone call between leaders last week.

The official Xinhua news agency said Xi expressed "his concern" in calling that the US policy toward China caused "serious difficulties" in relations.

The Chinese embassy in Washington responded to the news of the pact saying that "countries should get rid of their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices."

Grudges in the British Parliament


Boris Johnson was challenged by fears that a new defense pact could lead to Britain being dragged into

war with China.

After a statement from the Prime Minister in the Commons, former Prime Minister Theresa May asked her successor: "What are the implications of this pact for the position the UK would take in its response

if China tries to invade Taiwan

?"

Johnson did not rule out anything in his reply, saying: “The UK remains determined to uphold international law.

That is the strong advice we would give to our friends around the world, and the strong advice we would give to the government in Beijing. "

China has increased pressure on the island it claims as "sacred" territory, leading Taiwan to believe that it faces

a "grave threat" from its neighbor.

Wednesday's announcement on the pact did not refer to China.

But the move amounts to a thinly disguised effort to counter his military might and growing assertiveness in the region.

Nuclear australia


In his first public speech since becoming Johnson's national security adviser, Sir Stephen Lovegrove said Australia's decision to become the seventh nation capable of deploying nuclear-powered submarines, reflecting Britain's own increase in spending defense, amounted to

"profound strategic changes."

"Collaboration in nuclear projects creates indissoluble links, around which new collaboration matrices can be built," said the former Mandarin from the Ministry of Defense, in a virtual event organized by the Council of Geo-strategy.

The Royal Navy has ten nuclear-powered submarines,

four of which are armed with

Trident

nuclear warheads

.

The only other nations with nuclear-powered submarines are the United States, China, Russia, India, and France.

“Australia will become seventh, representing a significant commitment to peace and stability in the region, reflecting our own defense agreement, which saw a 10 percent increase in agreed spending last year.

These are deep strategic shifts, "Lovegrove said.

In the agreement known as AUKUS, the three allies announced in a televised speech on Wednesday that they would cooperate in developing the submarines for the Australian navy and enhance their defense and security cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence.

At a press conference in Canberra, Scott Morrison said he

was undecided

whether his country would buy British-made BAE Systems Astute-class submarines or Virginia-class ships from the US.

The submarines are expected to be built in Australia.

But UK defense companies that have spent decades building UK submarine capabilities would win huge contracts as a result.

Sources within the Defense Ministry said they expected a total of eight submarines to be built in a process that could take years.

China alert


The Global Times, a newspaper run by the Communist Party of China,

warned of an arms race

for nuclear submarines.

He added that Australian soldiers are likely to be the "first to die" in a Chinese "counterattack."

Australia has long been a loyal ally of the West.

While its neighbor New Zealand has followed a policy since the 1980s of not allowing

nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships to

enter its waters, Australia, under governments of the left and right, has not followed suit.

The NATO powers need your support to counter the power of China.

Canberra, in turn, needs the long-range, high-speed military capabilities that the United States and Great Britain can provide.

The pact has been well received by Taiwan and Japan, though it has caused dissension with allies in Europe, particularly France, which has understandably been angered by the cancellation of the billion-pound submarine contract.

Canberra has invested over £ 2 billion in this project to date and will have to pay other contractual costs to complete it.

In recent years, the defense of the continent has focused on defending the immediate coastal zone by air and sea.

However, threats to regional security have changed beyond recognition.

Canberra, not Washington or London, has made the prudent decision that the defiance of China's autocratic rule and military might

must be collectively countered.

Britain and the United States are fighting to contain

an international backlash

against a nuclear submarine pact reached with Australia amid concerns that the alliance could provoke China and spark conflict in the Pacific.

Boris Johnson told MPs that the Aukus defense agreement "was not intended to be contradictory" with China.

But Beijing accused the three countries of adopting

a "cold war mentality"

and warned that they would harm its own interests unless it was abandoned.

Paris, correspondent

Look also

A withdrawal from Afghanistan, imagined as the end of the cycle started on 9/11

Biden and Xi Jinping had an unexpected and extensive dialogue to lower the tension

Source: clarin

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