France will lose a nearly $100 billion deal to build diesel submarines for Australia under the terms of the initiative, which will see the U.S. and Britain help Canberra construct nuclear-powered ones.
Officials in Paris lashed out at their Washington counterparts. Jean-Yves Le Drian (French foreign minister) called it a “stab in their back”. The “brutal and unilateral decision”, he said, reminded him of President Trump.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was quick to assure Paris and called them a “vital partner.” The AFP News Agency tweeted Blinken’s comment and Araud sarcastically responded on Thursday, “We are deeply moved…”
China also reacted angrily, accusing the U.S. and its English-speaking partners of embarking on a project that will destabilize the Pacific to the detriment of global security. However, Brussels and Paris had equally harsh reactions. They both complained that they weren’t only out of the agreement, but also not being consulted about it.
The White House and Blinken say France had been informed of the decision before it was announced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report