China, France rankled by new US, UK, Australia defence pact Sep 17, 2021 0 0 12345 dpaBeijing/Paris The newly-announced strategic security alliance between the US, Britain and Australia has sparked outrage in China, as well as from ally France.“The countries concerned should abandon the zero-sum mentality of the Cold War,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said in Beijing on Thursday, adding that the three powers would only end up harming their own interests otherwise.The spokesperson also pointed out that Australia was not a nuclear power, but would now suddenly be importing nuclear-powered submarine technology with strategic military value. This might, the spokesperson said, lead other states in the international community to question the group’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation.Earlier, US President Joe Biden had announced his intention to allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines to strengthen security and military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region. Biden spoke of “rapidly evolving threats,” but did not mention China directly.A joint statement by Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a way should be found for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines in the next 18 months.France meanwhile reacted furiously to Australia’s decision to buy submarine technology from the US, voiding a 2016 deal with France worth 56 billion euro (66 billion dollars) to provide conventional submarines to Australia.French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Parly described the move as being against the spirit of the cooperation between France and Australia, which they said was built on political trust.“I am furious, this is not something you do among allies,” Le Drian told France Info radio. “It’s a slap in the face.” He compared the “unilateral, brutal and unpredictable decision” to the behaviour of former US president Donald Trump.“We have built a relationship of trust with Australia, that trust has been betrayed,” Le Drian said. Canberra would now have to explain how it intended to get out of the contract, he said. “We are not done with this story yet.” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Breakfast on Thursday that he understood French frustration at losing out on the deal.“I understand France’s disappointment. They had a contract with the Australians for diesel-electrics from 2016 and the Australians have taken this decision that they want to make a change.” Another ally, New Zealand, also appeared implicitly critical of the deal, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing that the country, which has always rejected the use of nuclear power, would not allow Australian nuclear-powered Australian submarines to enter its waters.“New Zealand’s position on the ban on nuclear-powered submarines in our waters remains unchanged,” Ardern said in the capital Wellington.Later in the day, the British prime minister sought to calm frayed tempers amid the criticism of the security alliance known as AUKUS.Answering questions in the House of Commons on Thursday, Johnson said: “AUKUS is not intended to be adversarial towards any other power,” adding that it was instead a reflection of the close relationship between the three nations, “the shared values that we have and the sheer level of trust between us that enables us to go to this extraordinary extent of sharing nuclear technology.” Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES White House backs Mark Milley after reports he called China Sep 17, 2021 0 0 Four detained after threat to German synagogue on Yom Kippur Sep 17, 2021 0 0 US reports one of the highest daily COVID death tolls in 2021 Sep 17, 2021 0 0 Elton John announces rescheduled Europe tour dates with ‘heavy heart’ London Sir Elton John has said it is with “great sadness and a heavy heart” that he has been forced to postpone his upcoming European and British tour dates to 2023 due to injury. The musician, 74, was due to embark on dates .. Pfizer/BioNTech booster raises COVID protection for seniors: Study Berlin A Covid-19 booster vaccination with Pfizer/BioNTech for people over 60 years old considerably increases the protective effect, according to a study. There were more than 10 times as many proven infections and .. IAEA raises nuclear energy estimates for first time since Fukushima dpa Vienna The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revised upwards its forecast for the global expansion of nuclear energy for the first time in 10 years. The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear .. 3,000 French health sector workers suspended for being unvaccinated Paris Around 3,000 health sector workers in France have been temporarily suspended from their jobs for not meeting Wednesday’s deadline for being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Health Minister Olivier ..