German minister says sub deal 'irritating'

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has criticised the new security alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, describing the move as "irritating".

"It's sobering, not just for France," Maas said shortly before US President Joe Biden's speech at the United Nations in New York.

Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched the AUKUS alliance last week in an apparent effort to counter a military threat from China in the Indo-Pacific.

The pact nullified a multi-billion dollar submarine deal between Australia and France.

"I can well understand the anger of our French friends," Maas said.

EU allies will now have to think about how to achieve more strategic sovereignty, he said.

"Ultimately, it will be up to us in Europe whether we can manage that or not."

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