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AUKUS Nuclear Submarine Cooperation Seriously Jeopardizes Peace, Stability in Asia-Pacific: Embassy

The United States, Britain and Australia have been pressing ahead with nuclear submarine cooperation despite being widely questioned, which creates nuclear proliferation risks and undermines the international non-proliferation system, the Chinese Embassy in Britain has said.

In response to a question concerning the trilateral Australia-UK-U.S. (AUKUS) cooperation on nuclear submarines, the embassy said on Friday that such cooperation will exacerbate the resurgence of the Cold War mentality, trigger a new round of arms race, and further provoke regional security and military confrontation, seriously jeopardizing regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The Asia-Pacific is now the most dynamic and fastest growing region in the world, which hasn’t come easily, the embassy said in a press release. “The AUKUS cooperation is designed to serve the U.S. geopolitical agenda to introduce group politics and Cold War confrontation into the Asia-Pacific with military deterrence. It is aimed at creating a NATO-replica in the Asia-Pacific, which runs counter to peace and stability in the region.”

The AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation marks the first time for nuclear weapon states to transfer naval nuclear propulsion reactors and weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to a non-nuclear weapon state, it noted.

As the current International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system is incapable of ensuring effective safeguards, such cooperation poses serious nuclear proliferation risks, seriously compromises the authority of the IAEA, and deals a blow to the agency’s safeguards system, the embassy said.

“If the three countries are set on advancing the cooperation, other countries will likely follow suit, eventually leading to the collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime,” it said.

China urges the three countries to heed the call of the international community and regional countries, discard the outdated zero-sum Cold War mentality and narrow geopolitical mindset, earnestly fulfil their international obligations and do more things that are conducive to regional peace, stability, unity and development, the embassy said.

“This serves the fundamental and long-term interests of regional countries as well as the three countries themselves,” it said. “The UK is not a country in the region and it is unwise to overstretch itself.”