Brexit: Michael Ellis slams Labour's 'relentless negativity'
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London, Washington and Canberra have formed a new military pact, called AUKUS. The news was jointly announced on Wednesday by Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison.
While not stated explicitly by members, analysts believe AUKUS is a bid to contain possible Chinese aggression.
It will include cooperation on a range of projects, including cyber warfare, artificial intelligence and drones.
Britain and the US have pledged to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
However, this has infuriated France, as it means Australia is tearing up plans to buy French-built diesel powered submarines.
Florence Parly, the French defence minister, described this as “an enormous disappointment”.
A spokesman for Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, said Brussels did not get advanced warning of the deal.
He said: “The European Union was not informed of this project and we are in contact to better understand this alliance.
“An analysis of the situation and the repercussions of this alliance will be carried out and the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, scheduled for October 18 in Luxembourg, offers an opportunity for a discussion on this alliance.”
The submarine contract cancellation has caused outrage across the political spectrum in France.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said: “Biden made a brutal Trump-style decision.
“We had established a relationship of trust with Australia. This trust has been betrayed.”
Gerard Araud, the former French Ambassador in Washington, tweeted: “The world is a jungle.
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“France has just been reminded [of] this bitter truth by the way the US and the UK have stabbed her in the back in Australia.”
The new AUKUS alliance was sharply condemned by Beijing, which branded it “extremely irresponsible”.
Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman, claimed the move could “severely damage regional peace”.
An editorial in the Global Times, a newspaper controlled by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, claimed Australia had “turned itself into an adversary of China”.
After the announcement, Mr Johnson tweeted: “The UK, Australia and the USA are forming a new trilateral defence partnership that will preserve security and stability around the world.
“It will also create hundreds of high-skilled jobs across the country, driving forward our levelling up agenda.”
Mr Morrison said: “Today, Australia begins an enhanced trilateral security partnership with the UK and the US to enable deeper cooperation on security and defence capabilities.
“This is an historic opportunity for our countries to strengthen our nations’ security in uncertain times.”
The new alliance has sparked calls in Europe for the EU to develop its own military capability.
Guy Verhofstadt, formerly the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, said: “The EU’s lack of hard power is a millstone to defend our interests world wide. Allies ignore us, opponents abuse us, citizens distrust us to guarantee their security. This is untenable.
“We need real EU defence, from intelligence to material to troops to back up our sovereignty.”
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