In escalation over submarine deal, France recalls envoys from US and Australia

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. recall / rɪˈkɔl / (v.) – to order someone who belongs to an organization or country to come back

    The employees were recalled to the office after more than a year of working from home.

  2. gravity / ˈgræv ɪ ti / (n.) – critical or serious condition

    After the gravity of our situation was explained, no one was smiling anymore.

  3. fleet / flit / (n.) – a group of ships working together or owned by the same company, organization, etc.

    The UK has decided to increase the size of its fleet in the area.

  4. a stab in the back / ə stæb ɪn ðə bæk / (idiom) – an act that destroys the trust of another person

    Mike’s my best friend, so it was a real stab in the back when he stole money from me.

  5. regret / rɪˈgrɛt / (v.) – to feel sad or sorry, usually for something that one did or didn’t do

    After being transferred to the US, Sergei regretted not studying English.


Read the text below.

France plunged into an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with the United States and Australia on Sept. 17 after it recalled its ambassadors from both countries over a trilateral security deal that sank a French-designed submarine contract with Canberra.

The rare decision taken by French President Emmanuel Macron was made due to the “exceptional gravity” of the matter, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

On Sept. 16, Australia said it would scrap a $40 billion (¥4.38 trillion) deal signed in 2016 for France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and would instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership. France called it a stab in the back.

A diplomatic source in France said it was the first time Paris had recalled its ambassadors in this way.

Australia said Sept. 18 it regretted the recall, and that it valued the relationship with France and would keep engaging with Paris on other issues. (Reuters)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • France recalled its ambassadors from both the US and Australia due to the “exceptional gravity” of the matter. Do you think France made the right choice? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what are (other) good reasons to recall ambassadors from abroad? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Australia said that it regretted the recall. If Australia’s leaders could go back in time, do you think they’d change their decision? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Australia said that it valued its relationship with France. What countries have good relationships with your country? Do you think anything could ever damage those relationships? Why or why not? Discuss.