France recalls US, Australian ambassadors amid security pact row
Australia joined AUKUS pact to build nuclear-powered submarines with US, UK; cancelled earlier deal with France
France on Friday recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia for consultations in protest of a new Indo-Pacific security alliance that excludes Paris.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he took the “exceptional decision” at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.
The formation of AUKUS means Australia will discard its Future Submarine Program with France, and assemble eight nuclear-powered submarines with its new allies, the US and UK.
The press release said the deal's cancellation, which was signed in 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership "constitute unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe."
Earlier, France said the "regrettable decision" was “contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation which prevailed between France and Australia.”
US President Joe Biden was joined by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison by video as he unveiled the alliance on Wednesday night.
Stressing its importance, the three leaders said the pact will help ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.
While none of them mentioned China in their remarks, the need to bolster the region against encroachment by Beijing was underscored throughout the news conference.