WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – The US is seeing more backlash from France over its new security pact with Australia. The French embassy in Washington says it is canceling or downsizing several events this week which celebrate France’s help in the American Revolution.
France had condemned the deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, because it effectively killed a deal of its own. The US is also seeing further criticism from China.
The Chinese government continues to vent its fury over the announcement this week that the U.S., Britain and Australia will work together in a partnership to help build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.
Senior Chinese officials arguing that this would create an arms race and that it is a potential violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, or at least that is what China’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency. That’s the case that he made to its board of governors as he urged them to criticize the tripartite announcement.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping addressed his fellow leaders at the Shanghai cooperation organization and though he did not specifically mention the nuclear-powered submarine agreement, he did have some choice words that seem to be very much criticizing China’s American rival saying, “Acting from a so-called position of strength is not the way to handle international affairs and hegemonic domineering and bullying acts should be firmly rejected. We need to practice true multilateralism and oppose actions that use the name of so-called rules to undermine the international order and cause confrontation and division.” And he’s turning around an expression that’s often used by Washington which says that it is working to maintain, in its words, a rules-based order.
Chinese state media has been much louder, particularly the tabloid and very nationalistic state-run newspaper Global Times, which has just bashed Australia for this agreement, calling it a running dog of the US and saying that if it provokes China, it can expect no mercy.
Regional reaction has been varied Indonesia’s foreign ministry put out a statement expressing concern about a potential arms race. Japan, however, seems to welcome the agreement, and it does make sense because Japan is part of the so-called “quad”: India, the US, Australia and Japan. The four countries that have been conducting joint naval exercises and will hold a summit in the US next week.