The economic newspaper “Les Echos” prints on its front page this Thursday (16) a news, still on conditional, that would materialize during the night:. “Australia gives up an order for 12 French submarines and opts for a vast military agreement with the United States.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that will buy US Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles to strengthen its military defenses against a China expanding.
Morrison confirmed that this agreement marks the abandonment of the US$ 66 billion contract signed with the France for the construction of twelve diesel and electric propulsion submarines, based on the model of the “Barracuda”, from the French navy.
The order was signed in 2016 by then-President Francois Hollande and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. After an intense bidding, the French Naval Group came out as the winner, defeating offers from Japan and Germany.
The Australian press was already announcing that Morrisson was about to change the course of the boat in the face of intense pressure from the Biden administration. The US government wants to put in place a vast agreement on military cooperation between Americans, Australians and British (see the video below).
UK, US and Australia unite to contain China
The trilateral agreement, called Aukus, the initials in English of the three countries involved, includes an alignment of technologies in artificial intelligence, in the cybernetic field and in submarine and missile systems. All this to raise a front against China.
“Until then, the Australian government has tried to maintain a certain independence and neutrality in the space between the Indian and Pacific oceans,” writes the French newspaper.
According to “Les Echos”, the blow is hard for the French Naval Group. Although the company has been paid for studies and research since 2016, the group still expected, at the beginning of the week, the signing of a new phase of the contract.
The construction site in South Australia had already started and the French company had a staff of over 300 employees on site. The French had also just announced a contract worth more than a billion dollars with third-party companies.
The Australian decision changes positions in the world geopolitical chess. At first, according to “Les Echos” analysis, a Chinese invasion is a very distant hypothesis.
China and Australia maintain friendly relations. China is Australia’s biggest importer, which supplies essential raw materials to China.
“But the hypothesis that Canberra finds itself caught in a conflict between Beijing and Western countries, following an invasion of Taiwan, for example, is not entirely absurd,” the newspaper points out.
According to a recent survey, 42% of Australians think it possible that one day China will attack the country.