France summons its ambassadors from the United States, and Australia, in response to the military alliance of the nations on Thursday locks, and the United Kingdom. According to international press agencies, French Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reports this.
To counterbalance the advance of China, the three English-speaking countries will focus on the construction of a nuclear submarine fleet for Australia. They also want to collaborate on cyber issues. This alliance led Australia to cancel an existing deal from 2016 for the purchase of conventional submarines from France.
Le Drian calls cancelling the purchase “a knife in the back”. France considers the breaking of the deal to be so serious that it will now withdraw its ambassadors to its NATO ally and Australia. “A rare decision,” said Le Drian, according to Reuters.
A spokesman for the Australian Foreign Ministry said that Australia regrets the action. “Australia understands France’s deep disappointment at our decision, which was made in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests,” writes a spokesperson for Foreign Minister Marise Payne in a statement.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that France is a “vital ally” and that the United States will work to resolve the disputes over the next few days.
The planned purchase of the submarines now amounted to EUR 56 billion. In the original deal, the amount was 34 billion, but due to currency fluctuations and incurred costs, that amount had risen considerably.
According to the American news magazine Politico, France could have seen this move coming. Because the high costs were not the only problem this project had to deal with. Last June, the Australian government indicated that it was looking for a way out of the contract with the French company Naval Group to build twelve submarines. Already at the start of the project in 2016, there were cybersecurity problems, the agreed costs had doubled and there was a huge delay. The company also failed to keep the agreement that most jobs would go to the local community.