Australian news, and some related international items

Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Director General of the IAEA all anxious about Autralia’s planned nuclear submarines

We feel the heat’: Malaysia cool on Australian submarines, SMH,  By Chris Barrett, October 21, 2021
   Singapore: Australia’s attempts to ease south-east Asian anxiety about its submarine ambitions continue to fall short, with Malaysia deeply concerned despite acknowledging the difference between nuclear power and nuclear arms. 

The Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam have welcomed the AUKUS pact between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as Australia’s plans to enhance its military capability with varying degrees of enthusiasm. But Indonesia and Malaysia are fearful its acquisition of nuclear-propelled submarines will ramp up tension and trigger an arms build-up in the region.

It is a view not disputed by Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who on Wednesday said the prospect of other countries seeking to follow Australia and develop their own nuclear-powered submarines “cannot be excluded”.

The Morrison government has sought to address consternation in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur by sending Vice Admiral David Johnston, the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, to the region for talks but two of Australia’s most important neighbours are unconvinced.

……….. . Saifuddin said nuclear power was “not something that will make Malaysians and I believe many ASEAN people comfortable”……… He said some ASEAN member nations would raise the issue with Australia, a dialogue partner of the regional bloc, when leaders convened for a three-day virtual summit next week.“During the next ASEAN [leaders meeting] there is the ASEAN-Australia summit. I believe some member states want to raise the issue with Australia during the summit,” he said.

“I don’t think it is useful to evaluate whether we are satisfied with [Australia’s] explanation. The issue is still there.“

…. He said Malaysia didn’t want to have to choose sides in the geopolitical rivalry between the US and China.

……. Grossi, the head of the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, said Australia’s pursuit of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines as a non-nuclear armed nation needed to be closely monitored.

October 21, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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