White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the new security alliance with Australia and Britain was not a snub toward France.
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
“We don’t see this from our end as a regional divide,” Psaki said, “we see this as areas and security security issues that we want to take on together.”
Australia told France it would end its contract with state majority-owned DCNS to build 12 of the world’s largest conventional submarines. The contract was worth tens of billions of dollars. France is furious, demanding explanations from all sides.
The U.S., Britain and Australia have announced they’re forming a new security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The alliance will see a reshaping of relations in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
In announcing the deal, none of the leaders mentioned China, although the alliance was seen as a provocative move by Beijing. China says the alliance would severely damage regional peace and stability, and jeopardize efforts to halt nuclear weapon proliferation.
“We welcome stiff competition with the PRC,” Psaki said. “We do not see conflict.”
Psaki would not “substantiate anonymous unconfirmed reports” that President Biden overruled advice from his top advisers the Afgham withdrawal claimed in a book being releases next week.
“What we’ve said from the beginning as it relates to Afghanistan is the president asked his team to present to him clear eyed assessment, candid advice on the path forward.”
Asked about a persistent cough the president appears to have, Psaki offered no explanation as to the cause. she classified it as not being “an issue of concern.”
Psaki addressed questions about differences of opinion within the FDA over vaccine boosters for COVID-19.
“Eight of our top medical experts, health and medical experts, including the acting head of the FDA, Janet Woodcock, recommended we would need boosters moving forward,” Psaki said.
Psaki said the “consensus view” of the leadership of the FDA, the view of the leadership of our health and medical experts agree on the science that showed a waning efficacy of vaccines after a certain number of months.”