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China Protests AUKUS ‘Proliferation Risks’ at International Atomic Energy Agency

RT and Xinhua reported yesterday that Chinese envoy Li Song spoke on Nov. 23 in Vienna before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors, and said that the international community must address nuclear “proliferation risks” posed by the three-way AUKUS agreement between the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Under this agreement, which was announced in September 2021, Australia will be able to build nuclear-powered submarines with technology provided by the U.S. and the U.K.

Li asserted that, “Such cooperation runs counter to the purpose and objectives of the NPT (the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) and is a typical act of double standard.”

In previous comments to the UN nuclear watchdog, Li argued the IAEA’s “current safeguards system is not able to achieve effective monitoring” for technology-sharing between the AUKUS partners, adding that the deal “seriously undermines the authority of the Agency and its safeguards system.”

At the March 14 Chinese Foreign Ministry press conference earlier this year, spokesman Wang Wenbi said: “We’ve repeatedly said that the establishment of the so-called AUKUS security partnership between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia to promote cooperation on nuclear submarines and other cutting-edge military technologies is a typical Cold War mentality. It will only exacerbate the arms race, undermine the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and hurt regional peace and stability. Peace-loving countries have expressed grave concern and firm opposition. The latest joint statement issued by the U.S., the U.K., and Australia shows that the three countries, for their own geopolitical interests, have totally disregarded the concerns of the international community and gone further down the wrong and dangerous path.”

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