US will not back out of Australia submarine deal, Biden to speak with Macron soon: WH
The US has no plans to abandon the Australia submarine deal despite France’s anger, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
Psaki said President Joe Biden will speak his French counterpart Emmaneul Macron soon to assuage Paris’ concerns over Washington’s decision.
“The president will have a call [with Macron], we’re still working on the scheduling of it with President Macron in the coming days. What I expect the president will do on that call is reaffirm our commitment to working with one of our oldest and closest partners on a range of challenges that the global community is facing,” she said.
“He [Biden] will of course discuss recent developments… certainly our shared interest in the Indo-Pacific,” Psaki added.
The US and Britain announced on September 15 a new Indo-Pacific security alliance that will equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which is widely seen as a move to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Australia then scrapped a 2016 multi-billion-dollar contract with France to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
The announcement enraged Paris that accused the Washington of “duplicity”, and Canberra of “betrayal” and declared that a crisis struck at the heart of Western alliances.
France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia. It was the first time in history that Paris recalled its ambassador to Washington.