Australian news, and some related international items

Chinese official asks if Australia’s Aukus nuclear submarines intended for ‘sightseeing’

Multiple sources present confirm the remark was made, but it is unclear if it was made sarcastically

Daniel Hurst, Guardian, 17 Mar 23,

“……… The comment was made during a briefing held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Wednesday at which dozens of representatives from other diplomatic missions were also present.

It is believed to have been made in the context of Beijing’s longstanding claims that the Aukus deal is a breach of either the letter or spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

One source said a Chinese official at the briefing said words to the effect of: “What are these boats for? Sightseeing?”…….. The Chinese embassy has been contacted for a response.

The Australian government declined to comment………………………….

Australia, the US and the UK argue the NPT regime expressly allows for the transfer of naval nuclear propulsion technology, although they acknowledge this is the first time such a transfer has been made from a nuclear weapons state to a non-nuclear weapons country.

The Aukus partners say they are committed to negotiating a rigorous verification and safeguards package with the International Atomic Energy Agency to set the strongest possible precedent.

China, however, has argued such transfers should only be for peaceful uses.

China – a nuclear weapons state – has put nuclear non-proliferation concerns at the centre of its international campaign against Aukus, knowing that these issues have resonance in south-east Asia and the Pacific.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said this week that the Aukus countries were trying to “coerce the IAEA secretariat into making safeguards exemption arrangements, which would seriously undermine the authority of the body”…………………………………… more

March 18, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international

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