France’s defence minister has cancelled talks with her UK counterpart amid the row prompted by a new security deal between Britain, the US and Australia. Paris is angry after Australia signed the Aukus pact to build nuclear-powered submarines, pulling out of a major contract with France in the process.
As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said France had nothing to worry about from the deal, a meeting between UK Defiance Secretary Ben Wallace, and French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly’s has been cancelled.
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Morrison said: “Ultimately, this was a decision about whether the submarines that were being built, at great cost to the Australian taxpayer, were going to be able to do a job that we needed it to do when they went into service and our strategic judgement based on the best possible of intelligence and defense advice was that it would not.”
The agreement means Australia will become just the seventh nation in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines.
The pact will also see the allies share cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and other undersea technologies.
But it has been criticised by China, which has accused the three powers of having a “Cold War mentality”.
And on Monday, North Korea, which has its own closely-watched nuclear weapon and missile programmes, warned it could spark a “nuclear arms race”.