Envoy reiterates opposition to AUKUS
A senior Chinese diplomat reiterated on Monday China’s opposition to the nuclear submarine cooperation of the United States, Britain and Australia, and warned Japan and related countries not to replicate “nuclear sharing” in the Asia-Pacific region.
The trilateral AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation and the “nuclear sharing” model in the AsiaPacific region are two major new issues facing the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, Li Song, China’s ambassador for disarmament affairs, told a committee meeting of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Li said the US “adheres to the Cold War mentality, obsessed with ‘strategic competition among major powers’, engages in group politics and camp confrontation, and cobbles together exclusive ‘small circles’ and ‘small groups’ to threaten the security of the Asia-Pacific region, which constitutes new shocks and challenges for the global nuclear nonproliferation regime”.
Li emphasized that the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation is an unprecedented act of nuclear proliferation. The US and the United Kingdom, as depositors of the NPT, decided to transfer nuclear submarine power reactors and tons of weapons-grade high-enriched uranium to non-nuclear-weapon states, posing a serious proliferation risk. AUKUS has fully exposed its “double standards”, Li said.
The trilateral cooperation provokes a camp confrontation, stimulates the arms race and causes serious damage to the Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones in the South Pacific and Southeast, Li said. “It is a blatant violation of the purpose of NPT,” he said.
“The international community is concerned about those trends, and people from many countries have raised serious doubts. China urges the three countries to revoke the decision to carry out the nuclear submarine cooperation and do something to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Li said the “nuclear sharing” model also counters the purposes and principles of NPT and is itself nuclear proliferation.
“China urges the US to abolish the ‘nuclear sharing’ policy and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad,” Li said.
Li noticed that in Japan’s report to the ongoing conference, the “three non-nuclear principles” mentioned in previous reports have been deleted.
“Does this mean that Japan’s nuclear nonproliferation policy has undergone a major adjustment?” Li said. He asked Japan to give a clear explanation for it.
Li also expressed concern over the issue of Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the sea.
He pointed out that Japan’s discharge of the water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident “has a potential impact on the marine ecological environment, food safety and human health that cannot be ignored”.
“The Japanese government’s unilateral decision to discharge nuclearcontaminated water into the ocean is purely out of economic cost considerations. It has not exhausted safe disposal methods, it has not fully consulted with neighboring countries and international agencies, and it is not responsible nor ethical to transfer risks to the international community out of selfishness,” Li said.
“Not only the Japanese people are strongly dissatisfied, but China, South Korea, Russia and Pacific Island countries also expressed concern.”
Li said the international community is highly concerned about the legitimacy of Japan’s discharge plan, reliability of data, the effectiveness of purification devices and the uncertainty of environmental impact.
The International Atomic Energy Agency Task Force’s assessment of Japan’s plan has not yet come to a final conclusion, Li said.
“Regrettably, Japan turned a deaf ear to this, continued preparations for the discharge plan, and hastily approved the plan. This attempt to create a fait accompli is not the act of a responsible country,” Li said.