Paris, 14 March 2023 - France is determined to promote an ambitious strategy in the Indo-Pacific region

Q&As – Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpt)

Q. – I’d like to know France’s reaction to the announcements made on the AUKUS submarine programme, after the developments we’re familiar with, and also if France is worried about China and Russia’s very negative reactions following the announcement of the programme. Thank you.

THE SPOKESPERSON – Regarding AUKUS, as you’ll remember, Australia took a sovereign decision in 2021 to end the cooperation initiated with France to produce conventional submarines in Australia. We deeply regretted the decision, because it was announced in a particularly harsh way, but also we regretted the fact that a key partnership, which created jobs in Australia and enabled it to have an independent sovereign capability with the support of a major French manufacturer, was abandoned.

Now that Naval Group has been compensated and we, for our part, have reset the foundations of our relationship with Washington and London, we still need to re-establish a solid partnership with the current Australian government, which we’ve had close, regular contacts with. As you know, there was a 2+2 recently between the foreign and defence ministers. As far as we’re concerned, we obviously remain determined to promote an ambitious strategy in the Indo-Pacific region in cooperation with our partners involved. As you know, we’ve increased the number of visits in this respect, since Catherine Colonna was in India again last week, Olivier Becht was in Vietnam and New Zealand, and Gérald Darmanin went to New Caledonia, which also provided an opportunity to show our support for Vanuatu given the climate incidents it has had to confront. Regarding China and Russia and their reaction, I’ve no further comment to make. It isn’t the first time those partners have reacted on these issues in the region. (…)./.

Last updated on: 16 March 2023