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Australia's Morrison says he told India's Modi and Japan's Suga about submarine deal in advance

Alex Wayne and Justin Sink, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he told the leaders of India and Japan in advance about a deal to purchase nuclear-powered submarines from the U.S., an announcement that blindsided and angered French leaders.

“I had the opportunity to speak with both Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Suga before we made the announcement about the Aukus arrangement and where we were proceeding on nuclear submarines,” Morrison said at the White House on Friday evening after a summit with the two leaders and President Joe Biden.

Aukus is a new defense pact involving Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. in which the latter two countries will help Australia obtain U.S.-built nuclear submarines. The deal, intended to counter a more assertive China in the Indo-Pacific, displaced an earlier $66 billion agreement for Australia to purchase French diesel-powered subs.

French officials said they had only hours’ notice of the U.S. and Australia deal before it was announced last week. They reacted with anger, describing the pact as a betrayal, and Paris recalled its ambassador from Washington for the first time in protest.

France’s ambassador to Australia was also recalled.

 

Biden arranged a call with French President Emmanuel Macron this week to try to patch up relations, agreeing to greater consultation on future America security moves affecting France.

Morrison said he informed India’s Narendra Modi and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga in advance about the deal with the U.S. — far more notice than French officials say they received — because they’re “Quad partners” with a “special arrangement.”

“It was warmly received then and it’s even more warmly received now,” Morrison said.

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