Australian news, and some related international items

China, and others, see the International Atomic Energy Agency as biased in supporting AUKUS nuclear submarines plan

Ed note. My problem with the IAEA is that it is NOT an impartial body, on matters nuclear

China accuses IAEA of issuing a ‘lopsided’ report on AUKUS nuclear submarines plan, more By foreign affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic 15 Sept 22

China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has launched a furious attack on the UN nuclear watchdog over AUKUS, accusing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of issuing a “lopsided” report about Australia’s plan to build nuclear submarines while ignoring widespread concerns about its ramifications for non-proliferation.

Key points:

  • The IAEA issued a report to member states which said it was “satisfied with the level of engagement” from Australia, the UK and US
  • A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman slammed the report, saying China was “gravely concerned about the substance” of it
  • China has lobbied against AUKUS accusing the three countries of undermining the non-proliferation treaty

Last week the IAEA sent member states a confidential report on Australia’s move to develop the submarines drawing on nuclear submarine technology provided by the United States and the United Kingdom.

China has lobbied relentlessly against the deal in international forums, accusing the three countries of undermining the non-proliferation treaty and fuelling a regional arms race.

However Reuters reported last Friday that the IAEA issued a confidential report to member states which said it was “satisfied with the level of engagement” with the agency from all three nations so far.

Earlier this week the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi struck a similar tone while addressing the agency’s Board of Governors, saying the Secretariat had held four “technical meetings” with the three AUKUS members so far and suggesting it was comfortable with the way they were handling the matter.

But on Tuesday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning slammed the report, saying China was “gravely concerned about the substance.”

“This report lopsidedly cited the account given by the US, the UK and Australia to explain away what they have done, but made no mention of the international community’s major concerns over the risk of nuclear proliferation that may arise from the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation,” she said.

“The report turns a blind eye to many countries’ solemn position that the AUKUS cooperation violates the purpose and object of the NPT.”

IAEA report finds AUKUS non-proliferation risks ‘limited’

While China has repeatedly attacked Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom over the agreement, this is the first time it has publicly excoriated the IAEA over the matter.

US and Australian officials have privately accused Beijing of gross hypocrisy over its public attacks on AUKUS, pointing out that China has been rapidly developing its own fleet of nuclear powered submarines — including submarines capable of launching nuclear weapons.

But nuclear non-proliferation advocates have also raised serious concerns about AUKUS, suggesting that it will establish a dangerous precedent by allowing a non-nuclear state to acquire nuclear propulsion technology for the first time.

Indonesian diplomats have also repeatedly made it clear they’re uneasy about the plan, and the country’s foreign ministry recently claimed recently that it won widespread support at the United Nations nuclear non-proliferation review conference for its plan to monitor nuclear material in submarines more closely.

Reuters reported last week that the IAEA report acknowledged Australia’s argument that the non-proliferation risks posed by AUKUS were limited because it would only be provided with “complete, welded” nuclear power units which would make removing nuclear material “extremely difficult.”

It reportedly also said the material within the units could not be used in nuclear weapons without chemical processing which requires facilities which Australia does not have and will not seek..


September 18, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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