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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens throughout a Senate Overseas Relations Committee listening to on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2021. Drew Angerer/Pool through REUTERS

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By Daphne Psaledakis and Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday stated France was a “important associate” within the Indo-Pacific area and that Washington would proceed to cooperate with Paris, feedback that appeared geared toward calming French anger after the US, Australia and the UK clinched a historic protection export contract to produce Australia with submarines.

The three international locations introduced on Wednesday they’d set up a safety partnership for the Indo-Pacific that may assist Australia purchase U.S. nuclear-powered submarines and scrap the $40 billion French-designed submarine deal.

France has reacted angrily to the lack of the deal, calling it a “stab within the again.”

Talking at a information convention after conferences between the U.S. and Australian international and protection ministers in Washington, Blinken stated Washington had been in contact with its French counterparts earlier than the announcement of the submarine deal.

“We cooperate extremely carefully with France on many shared priorities within the Indo-Pacific but in addition past around the globe. We will proceed to take action. We place basic worth on that relationship, on that partnership,” Blinken stated.

In 2016 Australia had chosen French shipbuilder Naval Group to construct a brand new submarine fleet value $40 billion to interchange its greater than two-decades-old Collins submarines.

The USA and its allies are on the lookout for methods to push again in opposition to China’s rising energy and affect, notably its navy buildup, stress on Taiwan and deployments within the contested South China Sea.

The White Home on Thursday defended the U.S. choice, rejecting criticism from each China and France over the deal.

“We don’t search battle with China,” White Home spokeswoman Jen Psaki informed reporters.

China stated the US, Australia and the UK had been “severely damaging regional peace and stability.”

“In our view it is about safety within the Indo-Pacific,” stated Psaki.

She stated she would go away it to Australia on why they sought this expertise from the US.

“We do not see this from our finish as a regional divide. We see this as areas and safety points that we wish to tackle collectively,” she stated.

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