Is Biden trying to avoid another subsnub? President announces major nuclear deal with UK and Australia next week after blindfolding Macron with multi-billion dollar defense pact
- Biden will receive British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego on Monday
- Leaders will reveal details of their submarine deal under the Aukus Pact
- Original deal outraged the French
President Joe Biden will meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego on Monday to discuss the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines under a pact between the three nations.
Australia is expected to get eight nuclear-powered submarines as part of a regional security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States known as Aukus.
British and Australian officials have confirmed the meeting. The original deal was designed to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Pacific – and it angered the French who lost a submarine deal they had made with Australia.
A Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine enters San Diego, home of the South Pacific fleet
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I can say that the Prime Minister will be in the US on Monday for talks on Aukus with President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Albanese.
‘On Monday, the cabinet will also publish the update of the comprehensive assessment of security, defence, development and foreign policy.’
And Albanese said he will meet Biden in the US next week.
“We will be making further announcements shortly on details of the arrangements that will take place,” he told reporters in Perth.
The trilateral summit could involve a submarine visit, Reuters reported. San Diego is home to the US Pacific Fleet.
It remains unclear whether the deal will involve a US or UK submarine, or a combination of the two, or when the ships will become operational.
The three parties have spent the past 18 months figuring out how to provide Australia with a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with restrictions on technology transfer and classified nuclear processes.
The Aukus deal angered France, which lost a submarine deal with Australia as a result – President Joe Biden received French President Emanual Macron at the White House in December for a state dinner to restore relations
When the original Aukus deal was announced in 2021, France was furious when Australia canceled a $66 billion contract for a French-built fleet of conventionally powered submarines and went instead for nuclear-powered versions in a deal that was secret signed with the US and Great Britain.
French President Emmanuel Macron has removed his ambassador from Washington in response. He later met Biden in Italy at a G20 so the two could make amends.
Biden called Macron on Tuesday, but a White House reading of the call didn’t say whether the Aukus deal would materialize.
The two leaders did discuss growing Chinese influence in the South Pacific, an issue that also worries Australia.
And Biden hosted Macron for a state dinner in December to strengthen and restore US-Franco relations.