World: U.K. Tells France to 'Get a Grip' Amid Fallout With U.S. Over Submarine Deal

How Submarine Power of U.S., Allies and Rivals Compare

  How Submarine Power of U.S., Allies and Rivals Compare In terms of sheer numbers, North Korea operates the world's largest submarine fleet, but the U.S. Navy's enduring, nuclear-powered force remains the deadliest.As a member of the Quad with the U.S., India and Japan, Australia is considered a key fixture in the region's collective security architecture. The newly formed AUKUS defense pact with the U.S. and U.K. will help Canberra establish a future fleet of eight submarines powered by nuclear reactors, replacing its six Collins-class diesel boats.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told France to "get a grip" during an ongoing diplomatic spat over Australia's decision to ditch a $65 billion contract for French-built submarines in favor of American and British technology as part of a new security agreement known as "AUKUS."

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives remarks after greeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her office on Capitol Hill on September 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. © Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives remarks after greeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her office on Capitol Hill on September 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

The U.K. prime minister spoke outside the White House on Wednesday following a 90-minute meeting with President Joe Biden. He was asked about lingering feelings of hurt in Paris and among European Union officials in Brussels.

Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France

  Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France It's Thursday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.French officials are furious over the Biden administration's decision to scrap a $40 billion nuclear submarine deal that the European nation had signed with Australia, lashing out at President Biden over a perceived hidden deal that sidelined Paris.We'll break down what caused the rift, how the French have reacted and the U.S. government's response.For The Hill, we're Ellen Mitchell and Rebecca Kheel. Write to us with tips: [email protected]

"What I want to say about that is I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip [get a grip] about all this and donnez-moi un break [give me a break]," Johnson said in a form of Franglais.

Just two days earlier, he sought to dispel concerns of any further strain in relations by describing Britain's love for France as "ineradicable."

Johnson, who was reportedly trying to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., said of the new defense pact with Washington and Canberra: "This is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It's three very like-minded allies standing shoulder to shoulder and creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology."

"It's not exclusive; it's not trying to shoulder anybody out. It is not adversarial towards China, for instance," he added.

What are nuclear-powered submarines and how do they work? Australia's new firepower explained

  What are nuclear-powered submarines and how do they work? Australia's new firepower explained With Australia making a deal with the United States and United Kingdom to begin a nuclear-powered submarine program, we can expect the Aussie subs will look a lot like the latest versions in the US and British arsenals. © U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries by ChrisOxley/Released A dolphins swims in front of Navy's newest submarine, the attack submarine USS John Warner, during its sea trials in May. The John Warner was commissioned on Saturday, August 1, in a ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia.

The prime minister said he found it "very hard to see in this agreement anything not to like."

a man and a woman sitting on a bench in a suit and tie: President Joe Biden (R) holds a bilateral meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 2021. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden (R) holds a bilateral meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 2021. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Biden's meeting with the British officials included a first face-to-face with the U.K.'s new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss—appointed in a recent cabinet reshuffle—who now has the task of managing the continuing diplomatic fallout over AUKUS's supplanting of Australia's contract with French shipbuilder Naval Group.

French frustrations, which appear mostly directed at the U.S. and Australia, peaked last week when Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian compared Biden to former President Donald Trump, saying the secretly negotiated three-party security pact felt like "a real stab in the back."

France recalls ambassadors to US, Australia over submarine deal

  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.

Paris claims not to have been notified prior to Australia's decision to scrap the contract with Naval Group for 12 diesel-electric ships, a deal signed in 2016 but plagued by cost blowouts and delays, which France says were the result of specific Australian demands.

Under AUKUS, senior Biden officials say the U.S. is taking the "exceptional" decision to share its highly sensitive propulsion technology with Australia to help its navy field its first fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines.

According to interviews conducted by AFP, France was aware of Canberra's apprehensions about the existing deal with the French contractor. In particular, intensifying security concerns related to China and its rapidly expanding maritime ambitions forced Canberra to make what Prime Minister Scott Morrison has termed a "strategic" decision to ensure Australia's naval assets were ready to face the threat of the next decade—when the vessels could conceivably be launched.

France and its president, Emmanuel Macron, have rallied supporters in the EU this week, with the U.S.'s European allies seemingly expecting an apology.

France is doing everything it can to show its anger at a cancelled $50 billion submarine contract, shocking officials in the US, UK, and Australia

  France is doing everything it can to show its anger at a cancelled $50 billion submarine contract, shocking officials in the US, UK, and Australia France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia in fury after Australia canceled a lucrative submarine contract with French firm Naval Group.France recalled its ambassadors to both countries and accused the two powers of "lying" to its officials, a dramatic and public rebuke to nations is generally treats as close allies.

In Asia, meanwhile, where Australia's future submarine fleet will have the greatest impact, AUKUS has been met with optimism, concern and—in the case of Beijing—staunch opposition.

Indonesia and Malaysia worry that the defense arrangement could trigger a further militarization of the region. The Philippines, Japan and Taiwan—countries traditionally aligned with the U.S.—have welcomed the new development in collective security.

Last week, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said AUKUS "undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race."

He suggested the security pact could "harm the interests of third parties by building exclusionary blocs" and warned the three countries risked "shooting oneself in the foot."

Zhao spoke on AUKUS for a second time on Wednesday, saying Asia "needs growth and employment, not submarines and gunpowder."

Related Articles

  • France Pushes EU to Consider Halting Trade Agreement with Australia After Submarine Deal
  • Australia Reminds France It's Always Supported Them Amid U.S. Submarine Deal Dustup
  • Longtime French Diplomat Lambasts Joe Biden as a 'Big Disappointment All Over Europe'

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

Biden holds first call with French President Macron since diplomatic crisis erupted .
President Joe Biden spoke for the first time Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron after a major diplomatic crisis exploded between the two longtime allies over a deal to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. © Leon Neal/Getty Images CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL - JUNE 11: US President Joe Biden, President of France, Emmanuel Macron and European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speak after posing for photos during the Leaders official welcome and family photo during the G7 Summit In Carbis Bay, on June 11, 2021 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

See also