Is Biden trying to avoid another U-boat rebuff? The president will announce a major nuclear deal with the UK and Australia next week after catching Macron off guard with a multibillion-dollar defense pact
- Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego on Monday
- Leaders to reveal details of their Aukus pact submarine deal
- The initial agreement outraged the French
President Joe Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego on Monday to discuss the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines as part of a tri-nation pact.
Australia is set to get eight nuclear-powered submarines under a regional security pact between Australia, the UK and the US known as Aukus.
British and Australian officials have confirmed the meeting. The initial deal was intended to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Pacific – and it angered the French who lost an undersea deal they had struck with Australia.
Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine arrives in San Diego, home of the South Pacific Fleet
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “I can say that the Prime Minister will be in the United States on Monday for discussions on Aukus with President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Albanese.”
“On Monday, the government will also release the update of the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy.”
And Albanese said he will meet Biden in the United States next week.
“We will soon have further announcements on the details of the arrangements that will take place,” he told reporters in Perth.
The trilateral summit could involve a visit to a submarine, Reuters reported. San Diego is home to the US Pacific Fleet.
It remains unclear whether the deal involves an American- or British-designed submarine, or a combination of the two, or when the ships will become operational.
The three parties have spent the last 18 months considering how to provide Australia with a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines subject to restrictions on technology transfers and classified nuclear processes.
The Aukus deal angered France, which lost an underwater deal with Australia as a result – President Joe Biden hosted French President Emanual Macron at the White House for a state dinner in December in order 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 fleet of conventionally powered submarines and instead opted for nuclear-powered versions under a secretly brokered deal with the United States and Britain. .
French President Emmanuel Macron withdrew his ambassador from Washington in response. He then met Biden in Italy during a G20 so the two could make amends.
Biden called Macron on Tuesday, but a reading of the call to the White House did not say whether the Aukus deal was done.
The two leaders discussed China’s growing influence in the South Pacific, an issue that also worries Australia.
And Biden hosted Macron for a state dinner in December, helping cement and repair US-Franco relations.