Home USA French president Emmanuel Macron SNUBS Scott Morrison’s phone call amid nuclear submarines fallout #englishheadline #French #president #Emmanuel #Macron #SNUBS #Scott #Morrisons #phone #call #nuclear #submarines #fallout

French president Emmanuel Macron SNUBS Scott Morrison’s phone call amid nuclear submarines fallout #englishheadline #French #president #Emmanuel #Macron #SNUBS #Scott #Morrisons #phone #call #nuclear #submarines #fallout

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French President Emmanuel Macron has rejected Scott Morrison’s request to talk over the phone as France seethes over the tearing up of a $90 billion submarine deal.  

The Australian Prime Minister tried to reach out to Mr Macron to patch up relations after France agreed to send its ambassador back to the US after a conciliatory phone call with US President Joe Biden.

But the French president told Mr Morrison it was ‘not yet’ time to speak as his country remains bitter over Australia dumping their contract in favour of a nuclear submarine partnership with the US and UK. 

‘The opportunity for that call is not yet. But we’ll be patient,’ the prime minister told reporters in Washington DC on Thursday morning, Australian time.

‘We understand their disappointment and that is the way that you manage difficult issues. It’s a difficult decision.’ 

Scott Morrison is yet to speak to French President Emmanuel Macron  to patch up the fallout over Australia dumping a $90billion French submarine deal in favour of a nuclear submarine partnership with the US and UK. They are pictured together at the Elysee Palace in Paris in June

Australia was accused of blindsiding Europe over the decision to ditch a deal to acquire conventional submarines from French company Naval Group.

France recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the US in retaliation to the AUKUS announcement.

In a subsequent call with France, US President Joe Biden agreed consulting that country ahead of the announcement could have prevented the diplomatic row.

Mr Biden and Mr Macron have also agreed to meet in October.

Mr Morrison said Australia was in a different position to the US because it is not part of the a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). 

The prime minister said he is hopeful of re-engaging with his French counterpart but expects to wait for a while.  

‘I know that will be some time before that occurs, but we will patiently pursue those opportunities because we want to work together,’ he said.

‘I look forward when the time is right and when the opportunity presents that we will have a similar discussion.’ 

Mr Morrison said he tried to contact Mr Macron after France held conciliatory talks with the US, but he was told 'not yet'

Mr Morrison said he tried to contact Mr Macron after France held conciliatory talks with the US, but he was told ‘not yet’

France has agreed to send its ambassador back to the US after Mr Macron spoke with Mr Biden (Mr Biden is pictured with Scott Morrison in New York on Tuesday)

France has agreed to send its ambassador back to the US after Mr Macron spoke with Mr Biden (Mr Biden is pictured with Scott Morrison in New York on Tuesday) 

Mr Morrison is also confident of securing the necessary political backing from US politicians for any laws needed to share nuclear submarine secrets with Australia.

The prime minister is in the US for meetings with world leaders and welcomed great US and UK great enthusiasm for the project.

‘The support on the Hill, of course, in the US system of government, will be absolutely necessary as we progress this important partnership,’ Mr Morrison said.

Australia has for years been planning to build a fleet of 12 diesel-powered submarines in Adelaide via French company Naval Group, with a deal made in 2016 valued at $90billion.

News of the contract being dumped outraged France, with a former top diplomatic official saying the country felt ‘stabbed in the back’ by the Australian nuclear submarine deal. 

‘The world is a jungle,’ ex-ambassador to the US Gerard Araud tweeted last Thursday. 

‘France has just been reminded this bitter truth by the way the US and the UK have stabbed her in the back in Australia. C’est la vie.’ 

The French government later that day said Australia’s decision to ditch the agreement was ‘contrary to the spirit of cooperation which prevailed’ between the two countries. 

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the change in plan ‘marks an absence of coherence that France can only observe and regret’.  

Australia will follow its allies the US and UK, which both use nuclear technology, by building its own nuclear-powered submarine fleet

Australia will follow its allies the US and UK, which both use nuclear technology, by building its own nuclear-powered submarine fleet

China has inflamed tensions in the South China Sea in recent years by expanding its claimed territory, to the objection of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific

China has inflamed tensions in the South China Sea in recent years by expanding its claimed territory, to the objection of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific

Mr Morrison reportedly held concerns Naval Group would be unable to deliver submarines until 2030 with deadline and price disputes. 

Defence officials have openly discussed abandoning the deal since June and told a Senate estimates hearing in June there were ‘challenges’ with the agreement.

Australia will instead embrace nuclear power after decades of debate – marking the first time the US and UK have shared their nuclear submarine technology with another nation. 

A working group known as AUKUS will allow the three allies to share the latest technology in artificial intelligence, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities. 

Australia has at least 40 per cent of the world’s uranium supplies and the new submarine deal could pave the way for the country to embrace nuclear power to drastically reduce carbon emissions. 

The move towards a nuclear Australia has been described as ‘China’s Worst Nightmare’ in a strategic bid to counter its influence in the region – especially in the South China Sea. 

‘Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region – the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures,’ Mr Morrison said. 

‘To meet these challenges, to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level.

‘So AUKUS is born – a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our Defence Forces, are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all.’ 

Mr Morrison said the submarines would be developed over the next 18 months and built in Adelaide in co-operation with the US and the UK.  

Officials have said the vessels will be quieter and more capable than Australia’s existing fleet and will ‘deter’ China’s ambitions in the far East. 

Why is Australia building nuclear-powered submarines? 

 Why nuclear submarines?

Nuclear submarines are powered by nuclear reactors which produce heat that creates high-pressured steam to spin turbines and power the boat’s propeller. 

They can run for about 20 years before needing to refuel, meaning food supplies are the only limit on time at sea.

The boats are also very quiet, making it harder for enemies to detect them and can travel at top speed – about 40kmh – for longer than diesel-powered subs.

The first nuclear submarines were put to sea by the United States in the 1950s. They are now also in use by Russia, France, the United Kingdom, China, and India. 

A senior US defence official told reporters in Washington DC: ‘This will give Australia the capability for their submarines to basically deploy for a longer period, they’re quieter, they’re much more capable. 

‘They will allow us to sustain and to improve deterrence across the Indo-Pacific.’

Zack Cooper, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, said nuclear submarines would hugely boost Australia’s military capability.

‘They are going to be much, much more capable in the large, expansive ocean that is Australia has to deal with,’ he told the ABC.  

Will Australia have nuclear weapons? 

Scott Morrison made it clear that the nuclear-power submarines will not have nuclear missiles on board.

Australia has never produced nuclear weapons and signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1973 which prevents non-nuclear states which don’t already have them from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Morrison also said the Australia has no plans to build nuclear power stations which are widely used around the world. 

‘But let me be clear, Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability,’ he said.

‘And we will continue to meet all our nuclear non-proliferation obligations.’  

Are they safe? 

The nuclear reactors are shielded from the rest of the submarine in a separate section to protect the crew from dangerous radiation. 

The US has an excellent safety record with its nuclear-powered fleet although early Russian subs suffered a few accidents which caused 20 servicemen to die from radiation exposure between 1960 and 1985.

At the end of their 20-year lifetimes, the contaminated parts of nuclear reactors need to be disposed deep underground in special waste storage cells. 

Anti-nuclear campaigners say any leaks of radioactive waste could lead to an environmental disaster. 

Greens leader Adam Bandt called the submarines ‘floating Chernobyls’ in reference to the 1986 nuclear power plant explosion in the Soviet Union.

Why now?

Australia needs to replace its six ageing Collins-class submarines. 

In 2016 it signed a deal with French Company Naval Group to build 12 diesel-electric attack subs – but the parties were in dispute over the amount of building that would be done in Australia.

That deal has now been torn up in favour of nuclear powered subs aided by the US and UK who will provide the technology to Australia.

The West is becoming increasingly concerned about the growing assertiveness of China in the Indo-Pacific region where it has made huge territorial claims in the South and East China seas, clashed with Indian troops and repeatedly flown planes over Taiwan.

Mr Morrison wants Australia to have serious defence capability to deter China from encroaching in the Pacific and long-range nuclear submarines are just the ticket. 

China has vastly built up its military in the past few years and now possesses six Shang-class nuclear powered attack submarines, equipped with torpedoes and cruise missiles.    

 

 

 



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