China News Service, September 23, reported that the diplomatic crisis caused by the U.S.-Australia submarine agreement between the United States and France seems to have eased. After French President Macron was invited to speak with U.S. President Biden, the two sides agreed to meet in Europe at the end of October. France also agreed to allow the French ambassador who had previously been recalled for protesting the US-Australia submarine agreement to return to the United States.

However, the White House did not respond directly to the question of whether Biden apologized to Macron, and US media believe that there is still a lot of work to be done to repair the diplomatic relationship between France and the United States.

The first French-U.S. heads call after the diplomatic crisis

Did Biden apologize?

  On the 22nd, US President Biden and French President Macron conducted the first call since the "submarine order" storm.

The White House stated in a joint statement with the French President’s Office that Biden agreed that the matter could have been handled better.

  Last week, the leaders of the United States, Britain and Australia announced that they would form a new security partnership. Under this framework, the United States and Britain will support Australia in developing nuclear-powered submarines, which means that the submarine contract signed between Australia and France in 2016 has ended.

Before the announcement of the new agreement, French officials received the notice only a few hours in advance, which aroused strong dissatisfaction from the French side.

Macron then ordered the recall of the French ambassadors to the United States and Australia.

  However, White House Press Secretary Psaki responded at a press conference on the 22nd when asked whether Biden apologized during the call: “He admits that more detailed consultations should be conducted.”

  Although the United States did not directly apologize for hiding from France, the joint statement stated, "The two leaders agreed that on issues concerning the strategic interests of France and our European partners, public consultations between allies will benefit the present. Situation."

  Biden also reiterated the importance of France and Europe's participation in related regional strategies during the call.

The United States also recognizes that a stronger and more capable European defense will make positive contributions to transatlantic and global security and complement NATO.

  However, Psaki said on the 20th that the United States will not abandon the US-UK-Australia tripartite agreement because of French dissatisfaction.

The call is not for reconciliation but for clarification

Has France's anger subsided?

  According to the joint statement, Biden and Macron also decided to meet in Europe at the end of October during this call.

Macron also said that the recalled French ambassador will also return to Washington next week.

It is unclear whether the meeting between the two will take place during the G20 summit in Italy next month.

  The Associated Press stated that Biden’s phone call with Macron showed that after several days of anger in Paris against Biden’s administration, the mood eased.

  Earlier, French Foreign Minister Le Drian called Australia’s decision to suspend the agreement as a “stabbing in the back” and the United States as “treacherous”.

Paris is waiting for further clarification from Australia and the United States.

  In fact, as early as after the crisis broke out, when US President Biden offered to talk with French President Macron on the phone to explain, the Elysée Palace stated on the 21st that the call was not for "reconciliation" but for "clarification."

  The Associated Press also pointed out that it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to repair the diplomatic relations between France and the United States.

The joint statement stated that the French ambassador will “cooperate closely with senior US officials” after returning to the United States.