On September 19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the cancellation of the contract to buy French submarines and affirmed: “I do not regret the decision to put Australia’s national interests first, never.” His reaction comes as Australia’s new deal with the US and UK continues to fuel a multinational diplomatic crisis between the parties involved.
Australia has pulled out of a $40 billion deal signed in 2016 with France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines. Instead, this country, along with the US and UK, announced a new military agreement called the AUKUS alliance, sharing many technologies.
Prominent is the cooperation in sharing technology to develop the navy, whereby Washington and London will soon help Canberra develop a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines but are not capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The move angered France, a NATO ally of the United States and Britain, leading to the recall of its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra. The move also drew criticism from China, a rising power in the Indo-Pacific region.