US President Joe Biden appeared to forget the name of the Australian Prime Minister during a press conference announcing a major military deal between the UK, US and Australia.
The AUUKUS initiative – a trilateral trade deal enabling the development of an Australian nuclear submarine fleet – was announced during a joint video press conference between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Biden last night.
After delivering a speech announcing the deal, Johnson handed over to Biden, who said, “thank you Boris and I want to thank, uh, that fella down under.”
“Thank you very much, pal,” he added.
A clip of the press conference, showing Biden flanked by two TV screens with video links to the UK and Australia, shows Johnson smiling and laughing at the incident.
Biden then returned to the teleprompter and managed to name the Australian Prime Minister. “As Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Johnson said, I want to thank you for this partnership,” he said.
The AUUKUS agreement will enable the three countries to draw up plans to share technology so that Australia can build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, based in Adelaide. The deal is seen as a thinly veiled attempt to counter the growing power of China.
“This will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting decades and requiring the most advanced technology,” said Johnson.