In this file photo, international flags flutter outside of the UN headquarters during the opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Sept 10, 2018. (JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
VIENNA - A Chinese envoy on Thursday voiced concerns over the nuclear weapon material transfer involved in AUKUS, saying the United States, Britain and Australia must give an account to the international community.
Wang Qun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations in Vienna, made the remarks when addressing a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors.
The meeting deliberated the issue of the "Transfer of nuclear materials in the context of AUKUS and its safeguards in all aspects under the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons)."
Whichever name the three countries assign to the deal and however they handle relevant nuclear weapon materials, they cannot deny that the deal involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials.
Wang Qun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations
In September 2021, the United States, Britain and Australia announced the establishment of AUKUS, under which the United States and Britain will assist Australia in its acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.
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Wang said the trilateral deal violates the NPT, the IAEA's comprehensive safeguards agreement, and the additional protocol signed between Australia and the IAEA.
"Whichever name the three countries assign to the deal and however they handle relevant nuclear weapon materials, they cannot deny that the deal involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials," he said.
Noting that AUKUS has a far-reaching negative impact on international security order, regional peace and global non-proliferation regime, Wang called for the IAEA to address the issue according to its mandate.
The Chinese envoy also noted that the United States and Britain have applied double standards on nuclear proliferation issues.
The two countries have imposed unilateral sanctions on civilian nuclear programs of some non-nuclear-weapon states, while at the same time blatantly transferring nuclear weapon material to Australia, he said.
Wang added that such double standards have "severely undermined the international non-proliferation regime and hindered the resolution of hotspot issues, including the Iran nuclear issue and the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue."
Wang called on all relevant parties to continue intergovernmental negotiation to find the solution to the AUKUS issue and take concrete measures to safeguard the international non-proliferation regime, global peace and security.
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