French defense chief Florence Parly was due to hold a bilateral meeting this week in London with her British counterpart, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, and address an event hosted by the Franco-British Council.
But council co-chair Lord Ricketts, a former UK national security adviser and ambassador to Paris, said the rally had been “postponed to a later date,” the BBC reported on Monday.
An anonymous UK defense source confirmed to UK news agency PA that the meeting was “postponed, not canceled”.
Parly’s move came after the UK, US and Australia announced last week that they have entered into a new trilateral security partnership, dubbed Aukus, for the Indo-Pacific region.
As part of the pact, Australia announced it would end a multibillion-dollar deal negotiated in 2016 with the French naval group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and instead acquire at least eight submarines. -nuclear-powered navies with American and British technology.
The announcement angered Paris, prompting the government of President Emmanuel Macron to recall its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra.
No such measure was taken for London, with French Minister for Europe Clément Beaune suggesting it was because the UK was a “junior partner” which had accepted its “vassalization” by the United States.
Beaune told reporters the UK was subordinate to the US on post-Brexit foreign policy issues, accusing London of backtracking on Washington’s “towers”.
The British PM offers insurance in Paris
American, British and Australian officials have tried to appease France’s fury by reassuring Paris that it remains a vital ally.
In the latest such attempt, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday urged Macron not to “worry” about the Aukus Pact and claimed that relations between the United Kingdom and France were “very friendly. Despite the diplomatic turmoil.
“Our love for France is ineradicable,” Johnson told reporters as he traveled to New York for the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
“Aukus is by no means meant to be zero-sum, it’s not meant to be exclusive. It’s not something everyone has to worry about and especially not our French friends.
Meanwhile, Acting Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said his country did not need to prove its “affinity and affection” to France, pointing out that thousands of Australians have died on French soil during the two world wars.
“Australia doesn’t need to prove (…) US.
Canberra has repeatedly stressed the importance of French ties in recent days but also defended the Aukus Pact as being in Australia’s national interest.
The deal is understood as an attempt to counter the growing influence exerted by China, which has strongly condemned the deal.
Beijing says the alliance will destabilize the Indo-Pacific region to the detriment of global security.