Sep 17, 2022

China protests to IAEA over Aukus nuclear safeguards

China has lodged a strong protest with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urging the nuclear watchdog not to back Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear-powered submarines through the Aukus pact with the United States and Britain.

“[The IAEA director general] should not go in the wrong direction, let alone down the dangerous path, in endorsing the nuclear proliferation acts of these three countries,” Wang Qun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Vienna, said on Monday.

Wang was commenting on the IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi’s report on the agency’s Aukus safeguards, which were issued on September 9 and made available to its member states but not publicly disclosed.

“The IAEA, as a non-proliferation agency, would directly violate its own statute and the Non-Proliferation Treaty if it endorses the legality of the Aukus countries’ proliferation activities,” he said.

Wang accused Grossi of overstepping his authority and said the report made misleading conclusions about the submarine deal and whether it constituted a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“That was neither compliant nor legal. It is absurd,” Wang said.

Last September Australia decided to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines from the US and Britain as part of the trilateral security pact to counter China’s growing military power in the region.

China reacted strongly to the deal and condemned it as damaging to regional peace and stability and international non-proliferation efforts.

(Excerpts : scmp.com)

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