Beijing Says AUKUS Pact Undermines Nuclear Non-Proliferation
© Sputnik / Pavel LvovThe Chinese Foreign Ministry's building in Beijing
© Sputnik / Pavel Lvov/
BEIJING (Sputnik) - The AUKUS trilateral defence agreement between the United States, the UK and Australia could lead to the collapse of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Fu Cong said on Tuesday.
"AUKUS, the trilateral agreement on the development of nuclear submarines, is an extremely serious matter. The crux of the problem is that if this plan is implemented, it would mean that the United States and Britain, being two nuclear states, will hand over to Australia, which is not a nuclear country, weapon-grade uranium," the diplomat said at a briefing.
Cong stressed that the current International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards system does not provide any way to verify that Australia will not use the materials to create nuclear weapons.
"We believe that this would be a malicious exploitation of a loophole in the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, and if many countries do it, it would mean the collapse of the nuclear nonproliferation regime," Cong said, accusing the UK and the US of double standards.
In mid-September, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia unveiled their trilateral defence pact, which saw Canberra ditch a bilateral $66 billion submarine deal with Paris, which condemned the move as a betrayal of trust between the states. On December 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed that the AUKUS partnership undermines nuclear balance and increases tensions in the region.