US heads to France to repair ties after Australia scraps submarine deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a diplomatic mission to France to repair ruptured relations after their collapsed submarine deal with Australia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Source: AAP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit France next week as the Biden administration tries to smooth over hurt feelings due to the collapsed Australia-France submarine deal.

He will also be hoping to avoid potentially more lasting damage caused by the exclusion of America's oldest ally from a new Indo-Pacific security initiative.

The US State Department said Blinken will visit Paris from Monday for an international economic conference but highlighted that he will also meet with French officials to discuss the rupture in relations.

The administration has been scrambling to mend fences with France and the European Union more broadly since the announcement on September 15 of the Australia-US-UK agreement, known as AUKUS, which cancelled a multibillion-dollar Australian-France submarine deal.

All sides agree it will take time to repair those ties.

The State Department said Mr Blinken's talks will be aimed at "further strengthening the vital US-France relationship on a range of issues including security in the Indo-Pacific region".

"We recognise this will take time and it will take hard work," said Karen Donfried, newly confirmed as the leading US diplomat for Europe.

Other matters to be discussed will include "the climate crisis, economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the transatlantic relationship, and working with our allies and partners to address global challenges and opportunities", the state department said.

Published 2 October 2021 at 8:30am, updated 2 October 2021 at 2:25pm
Source: AAP - SBS