Blinken seeks to restore ties on trip to France after submarine fury – world
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will promise better communication with France during a trip to Paris next week, where officials are still worried about the cancellation of a sub-contract massive sailors.
Blinken will travel to Paris from Monday to Wednesday for a meeting of the OECD Club of Advanced Market Economies and will also meet with French officials, the State Department said.
Blinken will then fly from Paris to Mexico City on his first trip to the American neighbor as Secretary of State, which had already been announced by the Mexican government.
France was furious last month when Australia canceled a multibillion-dollar deal for French submarines, saying it would continue with US nuclear versions as tensions rise with China.
“We agree that the September 15 announcement would have benefited from better and more open consultation among the allies,” said Karen Donfried, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.
“Our meetings in Paris are part of our commitment to a process of in-depth consultations for the future. We recognize that it will take time and take hard work and that it will have to be demonstrated not only in words but also in deeds, ”she told reporters.
France accused the United States of treason and Australia of stabbing in the back and withdrew the ambassadors of the two countries.
Tensions began to ease when President Joe Biden spoke by phone with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. French Ambassador Philippe Etienne returned to Washington on Wednesday and soon received separate meetings with Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
France is still angry with Australia, with the postponement of a long-planned Australia-EU free trade round.
Australia announced the sub’s decision as it joined a new alliance with Britain and the United States dubbed AUKUS, one of a series of initiatives by Biden as he considers the rise of China as the primary concern of the United States in the 21st century.
Amid accusations by Parisian experts that France was collateral damage to Biden’s laser focus on China, US officials assured Blinken would speak to France, which owns Pacific territories, about the strategy in Asia. .
“AUKUS is not intended to replace existing agreements or existing partnerships,” Donfried said.
“On the contrary, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how to include the EU and other partners in our initiatives around the Indo-Pacific in the future,” she said.
Some Europeans were also concerned about Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to take over. Biden said the United States’ longest war was a costly distraction from competition with China.
Blinken had previously planned to travel for the 60th anniversary of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
He will co-chair an OECD ministerial meeting to look at promoting a green economy, a month ahead of the high-stakes UN climate talks in Glasgow.
China, which has observer status with the OECD, is frequently criticized by the United States for its state-induced trading practices as well as for its aggressive lending to developing countries.
Blinken will speak at the OECD on “shared values,” including transparency, said Matt Murray, a senior State Department official responsible for economic affairs.
“The administration is very interested in engaging like-minded partners and allies to talk about the behaviors of non-market economies, including China,” Murray said.