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Chinese FM protests against AUKUS nuclear submarine program

China has expressed its serious concern and firm opposition after the US, UK and Australia pushed for cooperation on nuclear submarines and forced the IAEA secretariat to support the cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a routine press conference on Thursday.

Nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, Great Britain and Australia fully exposes the three countries’ double standards and hypocritical nature regarding nuclear non-proliferation, Wang said at a press conference in Beijing, explaining China’s stance on the issue. On March 20, the United Nations Note Verbale in the China Commission in response to the IAEA Director General’s statement in relation to the AUKUS announcement.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limited Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 kilograms of uranium gas enriched to 3.67% purity, while AUKUS involves the transfer of several tons of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium of more than 90 percent from the US and UK. to Australia, a nuclear-weapon-free state. The risk of nuclear proliferation is obvious, Wang said.

This sheds light on the nature of the three nations using non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as a geopolitical tool. They are trying to lure allies at the cost of nuclear proliferation, using nonproliferation as a pretext to suppress others, Wang said.


Trilateral cooperation reflects the hegemonic practices of these three countries that violate international rules. They urged the IAEA to invoke Article 14 of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) to adopt safeguards, essentially forcing the IAEA Secretariat to adopt safeguards waiver arrangements, despite vast differences among the international community in the interpretation and applicability of this agreements. Article, Wang pointed out.

Throughout the history of the IAEA, the formulation and improvement of all types of safeguards agreements have been carried out through consultation with interested Member States before being reviewed and adopted by the Board of Governors.

The US, UK, Australia and the IAEA Secretariat have no right to take the issue of applicability into their own hands, much less to conclude an agreement among themselves and impose it on the entire membership.

Wang also warned that cooperation with the AUKUS nuclear submarine seriously undermines the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. It places large quantities of weapons-grade nuclear material in the hands of a country in a nuclear-weapon-free zone beyond the effective reach of the international safeguards system. This is clearly contrary to the object and purpose of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).


Cooperation with the AUKUS nuclear submarine will set a terrifying precedent and encourage others to follow suit. It will have a negative impact on dealing with regional nuclear hotspot issues and may eventually lead to the collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and turn against the three countries themselves, Wang said.

We call on the US, UK and Australia to seriously fulfill their international obligations, change course and not unlock Pandora’s box in the field of nuclear proliferation, Wang stressed.

China also calls on the IAEA to live up to its non-proliferation responsibilities and refrain from supporting the proliferation acts of the three countries.

At the same time, China hopes that all IAEA member states will actively advance in the intergovernmental process and find a way to resolve the issue of safeguards regarding AUKUS.


“We must join hands to firmly defend the international non-proliferation regime and ensure global peace and security,” Wang said.

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