China Daily

Envoy reiterates opposition to AUKUS

- By MINLU ZHANG in New York minluzhang@chinadaily­

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.

Blatant violation

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.

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