The trilateral Australia-UK-U.S. (AUKUS) cooperation on nuclear submarines 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’s aimed at creating a NATO replica in the Asia-Pacific, which runs counter to peace and stability in the region, the Chinese Embassy in Britain said on Friday.
Australia, the U.S. and the UK in March unveiled a project to create a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in the Indo-Pacific region. Under the AUKUS pact, Canberra is to acquire its first nuclear-powered subs, at least three, from the U.S. and the allies will also work to create a new fleet using cutting-edge tech, including UK-made Rolls-Royce reactors.
“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,” the embassy noted.
It added that the current International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system is incapable of ensuring effective safeguards and such cooperation poses serious nuclear proliferation risks, compromises the authority of the IAEA, and deals a blow to the agency’s safeguards system.
The three countries have been pressing ahead with nuclear submarine cooperation despite being widely questioned. Such cooperation will exacerbate the resurgence of 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, it 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.
The Asia-Pacific is now the most dynamic and fastest-growing region in the world, which hasn’t come easily, the embassy said, urging the three countries to heed the call of the international community and regional countries, discard the outdated zero-sum Cold War mentality and narrow geopolitical mindset, earnestly fulfill their international obligations and do more things that are conducive to regional peace, stability, unity and development.
“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.”