Just two weeks before the bombshell, senior ministers from both countries met and declared they were ‘committed to cooperation’. How did it all go so wrong?

Just two weeks before France complained of being “stabbed in the back”, two senior French ministers met with their Australian counterparts, Marise Payne and Peter Dutton, for what was meant to be a sign of ever-strengthening ties between the two countries.

The joint statement they issued now seems extraordinary, given the events that followed. “Both sides committed to deepen defence industry cooperation and enhance their capability edge in the region,” they said. “Ministers underlined the importance of the future submarine program.”

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