publish date 2021-09-16 16:20:23
Paris strongly condemned the launch by the United States, Britain and Australia, yesterday, Wednesday, of a security partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Australia’s cancellation of a submarine deal with France, describing it as a stab in the back. .
Under this new partnership, called “Ocos,” the United States will provide Australia with technology and capabilities to enable it to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described Australia’s termination of the submarine purchase contract with his country as a stab in the back, as he put it.
Le Drian added, in statements to France Info radio, that France feels betrayed, angry and bitter over Australia’s cancellation of the deal, and the conclusion of a partnership with the United States and Britain, under which it will obtain nuclear-powered submarines. The Minister called on Canberra to clarify its decision.
The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, considered that Australia’s termination of a huge contract to buy conventional submarines from her country is dangerous, and it is very bad news for respecting the given word.
Al-Jazeera correspondent in Paris, Noureddine Bouziane, said, “France is upset and angry at the cancellation of its deal with Australia, and it will not stop there, and will seek clarifications from the United States and Australia.”
He added that there is great French disappointment, as officials see an attempt to marginalize its role by the United States and Britain, despite the presence of French islands in the Pacific Ocean.
On the other hand, senior US administration officials said, “This defense partnership comes in light of the growing Chinese influence in the region.”
US President Joe Biden said that the Ocos defense initiative with Britain and Australia will enable these countries to obtain the latest capabilities to maneuver and repel rapidly evolving threats, as well as enable them to maintain and expand their military capabilities.
He added that this initiative “seeks for every country to have the latest capabilities we need to maneuver and repel rapidly evolving threats, and it will also bring together our seafarers, scientists and industries to maintain and expand our military capabilities.”
According to Al-Jazeera correspondent in Washington, Muhammad Al-Alami, this agreement can be considered the first actual inauguration of a cold war in the Asian continent.
He added that President Biden is practically beginning to implement one of the important steps in the strategy of shifting American attention from the Middle East and the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, in an attempt to rein in Beijing, which claims its unilateral sovereignty over large parts of the South China Sea.
The reporter pointed out that the White House will host next week the leaders of Australia, India and Japan, in an effort to strengthen cooperation to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific region.
For his part, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the launch of a tripartite defense partnership with the United States and Australia aims to work hand in hand to maintain security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
He added that the first task of this partnership would be to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines, while emphasizing that these submarines would be powered by nuclear reactors, not nuclear weapons, “and that would be fully in line with our non-proliferation commitments.”
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace denied the existence of any strategic dispute with France after the submarine deal with Australia, stressing that the deal was not a cold war with China.
In turn, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that his country had canceled a huge contract it had concluded with France in 2016, to buy conventional submarines, because it preferred to build with the help of the United States and Britain nuclear-powered submarines.
Morrison added that his country does not seek to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civilian nuclear capability, and will continue its commitments to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
He also said Australia would also receive US Tomahawk cruise missiles.
In the same context, the Australian Prime Minister, Thursday, extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping an “open invitation” for dialogue.
Morrison reiterated his willingness to hold talks with Xi, although the high-level talks between the two countries are frozen, and the tension between them has been rising.
For his part, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the submarine deal between Australia, the United States and Britain harms international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
The Chinese official added that Washington, Canberra and London are destroying regional peace and stability with this deal.
He stressed that Australia’s acquisition of US nuclear submarine technology should not harm a third party or another country.
In turn, the Chinese embassy in Washington said the United States, Britain and Australia should “get rid of the Cold War mentality and ideological bias.”
Embassy spokesman Liu Bingyu stressed that these countries “should not form exclusionary blocs that target or harm the interests of other parties.” The most important thing it should do is get rid of the Cold War mentality and ideological bias.”
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Source : ألدستور