World Singapore Welcomes U.S.-Australia Submarine Deal but EU Furious at Being Left Out
'Paradise': Australian states free of COVID resist opening
PERTH, Australia (AP) — It can seem like Australia’s west coast has almost entirely avoided COVID-19. A mask-free nightlife is thriving and huge crowds are turning out for sporting events, including 53,000 rugby fans who crammed into a Perth stadium to watch New Zealand’s All Blacks defeat Australia’s Wallabies on a recent sunny Sunday. “We are in paradise,” said one of those fans, Andrea Williams, who is all for the region continuing to defy the federal government and maintain strict border restrictions that keep it separated from the pandemic raging in large parts of the rest of Australia.
Singapore welcomed the news of Australia's new nuclear submarine alliance with the United States, but French leaders and thewere furious at being excluded from the alliance, according to the Associated Press.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke to his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, in a phone call. Lee said he hopes the deal will "contribute constructively to the peace and stability of the region and complement the regional architecture," the ministry said.
Budget overruns and culture clashes over long vacations plagued the $50 billion submarine deal France got booted from in favor of the US and UK
France was only given a few hours' warning that it had lost a lucrative submarine contract with Australia. But the deal had problems for years before.But the deal had been plagued for several years by culture clashes between the two countries as well as lengthy disputes over budgets.
The news was less welcome in other regions, such as the. French leaders are angry at being left out of the deal because it scraps a contract France had to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines for Australia, the AP reported.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
On Friday, Morrison rejected Chinese criticism of the submarine alliance and said he doesn't mind that Presidentmight have forgotten his name.
China reacted angrily when Biden, Morrison and British Prime Ministerused a virtual news conference this week to announce a trilateral defense alliance that will provide Australia with a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.
France recalls ambassadors to US, Australia over submarine deal
The diplomatic row came over a broken contract by Australia to buy French submarines in the wake of a new security pact by Australia, the US and the UK.Philippe Étienne, France's ambassador to the United States, and his counterpart in Australia were recalled to Paris "for consultations" at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron, said Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's minister for Europe and foreign affairs.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said it was "highly irresponsible" for the U.S. and Britain to export the nuclear technology.
Morrison said Australia wanted to boost peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
"Everything we've done with the United States is consistent with the partnerships and relationships and alliances we've already had with the United States," Morrison said.
Australia's nearest neighbor after Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, was "deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region," the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Observers say Biden appeared to have forgotten Morrison's name during Thursday's news conference, which was televised from three countries. The president referred to the Australian as "pal" and "that fellow Down Under."
Biden didn't use Morrison's name, while he referred to Johnson as "Boris."
Australia: France's recall of ambassador over subs regretful
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia said Saturday it was noting with regret France’s recall of its ambassador over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract in favor of a U.S. deal. France recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the United States on Friday in an unprecedented show of anger over a deal among the United States, Australia and Britain to provide Australia with a fleet of at least eight nuclear-power submarines. The dealFrance recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the United States on Friday in an unprecedented show of anger over a deal among the United States, Australia and Britain to provide Australia with a fleet of at least eight nuclear-power submarines.
It reminded Australians of when then-President's spokesman repeatedly referred to Morrison's predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, in 2017 as "Mr. Trumble."
Morrison laughed off what some have described as an awkward exchange with Biden that undermined Australia's significance to the United States.
"Usually when we speak privately, he refers to me as 'pal,'" Morrison said.
Morrison said he and the president enjoyed a great working relationship.
"Oh, I didn't pay much attention to it. I mean, these things happen. They happen frequently," Morrison said. "From time to time, you know, I've been known to let the odd name slip from my memory—that's pretty normal in our line of work, I've got to be honest."
Morrison said he referred to Biden as "Mr. President" or "mate" in private conversations.
Morrison will visit the United States next week for the first time since Biden became president. They will be joined by the leaders of India and Japan for a meeting of the Quad security dialogue.
France is escalating its disputes with Australia and the US, seeking to derail EU trade talks with both after being dumped from a submarine contract .
France continues to react with fury to Australia's decision to cancel a multibillion-dollar submarine contract in favour of working with the US and UK.The latest sign was a series of reports that French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to derail a planned EU-Australia trade deal to show its displeasure.