A huge diplomatic row has started after France recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the USA. It comes after Australia cancelled an order to buy 12 conventional diesel-powered submarines from France. The 2016 deal was worth $37 billion to France. Instead, Australia will buy nuclear-powered submarines. France called the cancellation of the deal a "stab in the back" and a "betrayal" by Australia. France also recalled its top diplomat to the USA. It said the US and Australia were looking at "future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines".
A new, strategic alliance between Australia, the UK and the USA is the cause of the split. The alliance is called AUKUS. It means Australia will get the technology to operate nuclear-powered submarines. France was only informed of the alliance hours before it was announced to the world. France's foreign minister said his country's "exceptional decision" was because of the "exceptional gravity" of the situation. It is said AUKUS is a reaction to China's influence in the region. China accused the three AUKUS powers of displaying a "Cold War mentality".