Canberra’s plan to buy up to five nuclear-powered submarines from the US has drawn sharp rebuke from Beijing, which has accused Washington and London of flouting their obligations as nuclear powers and members of the NPT.
“The nuclear submarine cooperation program … is an overt act that poses serious risks of nuclear proliferation, undermines the international nuclear non-proliferation system, promotes an arms race, and undermines peace and stability in the region.” China’s Mission to the United Nations said in a series of tweets Tuesday morning.
Speaking at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego on Monday, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced plans for a new class of submarines, the SSN-AUKUS, to be built in the UK and Australia. US technology and support in the late 2030s or early 2040s.
However, Australia will first buy at least three Virginia-class submarines from the US.
Since the AUKUS alliance was established in 2021, Beijing has repeatedly criticized the trio for extending the limits of nuclear proliferation. The US-built units are fueled by weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, but allies argue that the loophole exempts naval reactors from NPT safeguards.
“The irony of AUKUS is that two nuclear-weapon states that claim to uphold the highest standard of nuclear non-proliferation are transferring tons of weapons-grade enriched uranium to a non-nuclear-weapon state in clear violation of the intent and purpose of the NPT. » China’s diplomatic mission added on Tuesday, calling the planned transfer of nuclear technology and materials a “A textbook case of double standards” and exhorting the trio “Respect their obligations as members of the NPT.”
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