Breach of trust? France fumes as Australia drops submarine deal for US


Back in 2016, French branded it the deal of the century. So why is the agreement to sell military-grade submarines to Australia suddenly dead in the water? Canberra has ditched the 2016 deal for the chance to buy nuclear-powered subs whose technology is made in the US, with Washington also announcing an Indo-Pacific military alliance with the Australia and the UK.


That leaves out the only real Western power in Pacific waters outside of the US: France, with more than 8,000 military personnel and a fleet that patrols a vast area stretching across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Paris calls the contract poaching a "breach of trust", the kind of move associated more with Donald Trump than Joe Biden. So what's behind it? And what's the fallout?

And what will be the reaction from that other superpower critical of the deal: Beijing, which sees plans for a new Indo-Pacific alliance as squarely aimed against it and its ambitions in the South China Sea. If tensions were to seriously spike, would France and Europe ultimately be in synch with the US-led alliance?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Léopoldine Iribarren.

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