French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on deck of HMAS Waller, a Collins-class submarine operated by the Royal Australian Navy, in photo May 2, 2018 at Garden Island, Sydney — Photo: Brendan Esposito/Pool via AFP
The “contract of the century” provided for the construction of 12 diesel and electric propulsion submarines and the transfer of technology, but Australia abandoned the deal after signing the Aukus, a military agreement with the US and UK, on Wednesday (15).
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do,” French Chancellor Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio. “I am angry and bitter. This is not done between allies.”
The Aukus — a play on the acronyms of the three countries in English (AU, UK and US) — is a military agreement against China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes the Indian and Pacific oceans. (see the video below).
UK, US and Australia unite to contain China
By connecting the Pacific and Indian oceans, the South China Sea (or South China Sea) has trade routes that move 1/3 of the world’s shipped goods and more than $3 trillion a year (more than double the GDP Brazilian).
Among the terms of the agreement are a new Australian fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, which will cause the Australian government to abandon the contract with the French, as well as cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology and cybersecurity.
The commission for the “agreement of the century” was signed in 2016 by Francois Hollande, then president of France, and Le Drian, who was then defense minister. The French Naval Group won offers from Japan and Germany.
The Chinese government also criticized the agreement (see the video below).
“This cooperation on the issue of nuclear submarines seriously undermines regional peace and stability, increases the arms race and also affects international efforts on nuclear non-proliferation,” said Chinese Foreign Affairs Spokesman Zhao Lijian.
China criticizes US, UK and Australia security pact: ‘irresponsible’