“The American choice to push aside a European ally and partner like France from a structural partnership with Australia at a time we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region […] shows a lack of coherence that France can only acknowledge and regret”, the statement said.
Despite the division of the global community on the new defense pact, Australia’s foreign minister touted the agreement as a “real reorientation” of the UK’s foreign and security policy following Brexit, welcoming the new partnership with Australia.
Biden, for his part, said that the goal of AUKUS is to ensure allies in the region have capabilities to counter “rapidly evolving threats”, and addressed concerns about Austrialia’s nuclear-powered submarines. According to the US president, “these are conventionally-armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors”, meaning that the submarines will not be equipped with nuclear weapons. With regard to France, Biden argued that Paris already enjoys a “substantial” presence in the Indo-Pacific and plays a key role in strengthening regional security.