"It's a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.
However, Australian residents are "happy" and "comfortable" that the deal with France is off, preferring the security partnership with Britain and the United States.
"No we're definitely not backstabbers. We signed a contract to build old submarines that haven't been delivered and it just doesn't stack up to me so I'm happy the deals off, definitely happy," Sydney resident Lawrence Brown said.
In 2016, Australia had selected French shipbuilder Naval Group to build a new submarine fleet worth $40 billion to replace its more than two-decades-old Collins submarines, and reconfirmed the deal to French President Emmanuel Macron just two weeks ago.
Instead, Australia joined a security partnership with the United States and Britain that will help the country acquire U.S. nuclear-powered submarines.