AUKUS News, Views, Analysis.


Strangelove

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Chinese envoy recounts fierce exchanges at IAEA over AUKUS deal, calls nuclear submarine plan a blatant violation of non-proliferation

Called to account

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Published: Sep 19, 2022 11:23 PM

Members of the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) participate in a protest in Sydney, Australia, on December 11, 2021 against the nuclear submarines deal among AUKUS members. Photo: AFP

Members of the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) participate in a protest in Sydney, Australia, on December 11, 2021 against the nuclear submarines deal among AUKUS members. Photo: AFP
Editor's Note:


The nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant, irresponsible act of nuclear proliferation, and once again proves that AUKUS countries are practicing a "double standard" on nuclear non-proliferation and using the deal as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship, Ambassador Wang Qun, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Monday.

Wang, also China's Chief Negotiator for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, and former director-general of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, warned of a serious negative impact brought about by the deal on international efforts to resolve the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issues.

In September 2021, the US, the UK, and Australia announced the establishment of AUKUS, under which the US and the UK will assist Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

Why Iran has to limit its nuclear enrichment and stockpiles while Australia can receive tons and tons of nuclear-weapon materials from the US and UK, Wang questioned.

Why is this a matter of great concern to international community? What are the serious consequences? What kind of tools did the US, the UK, and Australia use to whitewash their nuclear proliferation? What IAEA rules have they violated? How has China thwarted attempts by these countries to get the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) embroiled into acts of the transfer of nuclear weapon material? You will find detailed answers in this interview.

Wang Qun, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna  Photo: AFP

Wang Qun, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna Photo: AFP
GT: At the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on September 12, the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal became the focus of attention. Could you talk about the background of the trilateral deal?

Wang:
In September 2021, the three countries pronounced their decision of nuclear submarine cooperation under AUKUS. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi clearly pointed out the dangers posed by the three countries to nuclear non-proliferation, regional security, and strategic stability, with resonance from the international community.

Since November 2021, the meetings of the IAEA Board of Governors, on the basis of China's proposal, have decided to include in its agenda "Transfer of the nuclear materials in the context of AUKUS and its safeguards in all aspects under the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)" as a stand-alone item.

The nuclear submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant act of nuclear proliferation. The export of nuclear weapons-grade material to Australia as a NPT Non-Nuclear-Weapon State by the US and the UK as two Nuclear-Weapon States is extremely irresponsible and once again proves that they are practicing a "double standard" on non-proliferation by using it as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship.

Such acts will have a serious negative impact on international efforts to resolve hotspot issues such as the Korean Peninsula and Iran nuclear issues.

This also reflects the serious concerns of IAEA members, who believe the matter is beyond the current mandate of the IAEA Secretariat and must be addressed by IAEA members through an intergovernmental process. In other word, member states must have a final say in this matter.

GT: The Chinese delegation's statement on the issue at the board meeting was widely reported by the global media. Could you please explain what rules have been violated as a result of the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal?

Wang:
At this board meeting, China listed seven major problems and mistakes of the trilateral deal under AUKUS, which was echoed and supported by a wide range of member states.

Member states believe that these countries' assertion to the effect that nuclear materials that sealed in a reactor cannot be used directly for nuclear weapons misleads public opinion, and is completely untenable.

Australia, in particular, has violated its reporting obligations under the its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and Additional Protocols (AP). It has failed to submit any substantive report to the Agency as required, in violation of its legal safeguards obligations under its CSA and AP, despite its pronounced decision of the nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS in September 2021.

GT: The Chinese delegation has pointed out at the meeting that "the three countries mislead the international community by packaging illegal nuclear proliferation as a legitimate and innocuous act." Can you tell us more about how the three countries misled the international community?

Wang:
The item proposed by the three countries at this board meeting is titled "Agency safeguards in the context of naval nuclear propulsion under AUKUS." Two points are worth-noting here. First, they deliberately used "Agency safeguards" as a cover-up effort while not mentioning the NPT treaty at all. Second, they, under the pretext of "naval nuclear propulsion" tried to conceal the true nature of illegal deal as well as the nuclear proliferation impacts.

Through political maneuvering, the three countries attempted to coerce the IAEA Secretariat into proposing a safeguard assessment exempting the nuclear submarine deal under AUKUS, and then force the IAEA Board to adopt it by taking advantage of their vote at the Board, by which, to help legitimize their illegal proliferation.

See link for rest of article...
 

Strangelove

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China thwarts AUKUS-related amendment attempts on legitimizing nuclear sub marine deal at IAEA conference

By Global Times Published: Oct 01, 2022 11:23 AM

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

The Chinese mission to the UN in Vienna on Friday fully thwarted an amendment advocated by the three countries which form the AUKUS alliance which aimed at legalizing their nuclear-submarine cooperation at the 66th annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held in Vienna from Monday to Friday, the Global Times learnt from the Chinese mission to the UN.

This is the first time that the IAEA reviewed the cooperation among the US, UK and Australia over nuclear submarine deal at the general conference level, since the Chinese side initiated an intergovernmental review process over the cooperation at the agency's board of governors in November 2021.

The discussions on the nuclear submarine deal of the three countries have been unprecedentedly intense and incisive at the general conference, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna Wang Qun said.

The US, UK and Australia formed the alliance referred to as AUKUS in September 2021, under which the US and the UK will assist Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

Wang told media after the general conference that the majority of IAEA member states expressed grave concern over the risk of nuclear proliferation caused by the nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries.

"Whether to insist on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime; whether to insist on the Agency's Statute; whether to insist on the Agency's secretariat and Director General fulfilling their non-proliferation responsibilities; and whether to insist on the intergovernmental review process led by the Agency's member states - these four points have become the focus of the divergences between the majority of member states and the three countries," Wang said.

The three countries, not reconciled to the setback at the IAEA's just-concluded Board of Governors meeting, attempted to overturn the result at the meeting by misleading public opinion, "demonizing" the intergovernmental review process, Wang said, noting that the three nations have pushed through whole paragraphs of amendments in relevant resolutions in an attempt to "legitimize" their nuclear submarine cooperation.

USS Connecticut File photo: VCG

USS Connecticut File photo: VCG

China has always stood on the side of international justice and taken concrete actions to uphold the NPT, Wang said, noting that China succeeded in nullifying the amendments of the three countries. At the same time, it was successfully written into the Agency budget resolution that the use of the Agency budget shall comply with the relevant provisions of the Statute, and the validity and integrity of the provisions are reiterated.

Wang stressed that regardless of the three countries' tricks, they cannot shake the NPT as the foundation of international nonproliferation system status, unable to coerce the Agency to engage in proliferation activities and promote the military purposes, unable to kidnap the secretariat, and unable to block the intergovernmental review process, which was agreed upon by consensus in the governing council of the agency on four occasions.

Attempts by the three countries to impose the "legitimacy" of their nuclear submarine cooperation on all agency members through the text are unpopular and doomed to fail. Only by adhering to the right direction, international rules, the inter-governmental review process led by member states, and seeking common ground while shelving differences, can the question of trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation be resolved, Wang said.

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

Wang said no one can stop the ongoing inter-governmental review process on the US-UK-Australia trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation and trying to break away from the inter-agency intergovernmental review process will not work.

China urges the three countries to return to the track of the non-proliferation system, not to make repeated mistakes on the road of nuclear proliferation and not to go against the will of the international community, Wang said.
 

Bellum_Romanum

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China thwarts AUKUS-related amendment attempts on legitimizing nuclear sub marine deal at IAEA conference

By Global Times Published: Oct 01, 2022 11:23 AM

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

The Chinese mission to the UN in Vienna on Friday fully thwarted an amendment advocated by the three countries which form the AUKUS alliance which aimed at legalizing their nuclear-submarine cooperation at the 66th annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held in Vienna from Monday to Friday, the Global Times learnt from the Chinese mission to the UN.

This is the first time that the IAEA reviewed the cooperation among the US, UK and Australia over nuclear submarine deal at the general conference level, since the Chinese side initiated an intergovernmental review process over the cooperation at the agency's board of governors in November 2021.

The discussions on the nuclear submarine deal of the three countries have been unprecedentedly intense and incisive at the general conference, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna Wang Qun said.

The US, UK and Australia formed the alliance referred to as AUKUS in September 2021, under which the US and the UK will assist Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

Wang told media after the general conference that the majority of IAEA member states expressed grave concern over the risk of nuclear proliferation caused by the nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries.

"Whether to insist on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime; whether to insist on the Agency's Statute; whether to insist on the Agency's secretariat and Director General fulfilling their non-proliferation responsibilities; and whether to insist on the intergovernmental review process led by the Agency's member states - these four points have become the focus of the divergences between the majority of member states and the three countries," Wang said.

The three countries, not reconciled to the setback at the IAEA's just-concluded Board of Governors meeting, attempted to overturn the result at the meeting by misleading public opinion, "demonizing" the intergovernmental review process, Wang said, noting that the three nations have pushed through whole paragraphs of amendments in relevant resolutions in an attempt to "legitimize" their nuclear submarine cooperation.

USS Connecticut File photo: VCG

USS Connecticut File photo: VCG

China has always stood on the side of international justice and taken concrete actions to uphold the NPT, Wang said, noting that China succeeded in nullifying the amendments of the three countries. At the same time, it was successfully written into the Agency budget resolution that the use of the Agency budget shall comply with the relevant provisions of the Statute, and the validity and integrity of the provisions are reiterated.

Wang stressed that regardless of the three countries' tricks, they cannot shake the NPT as the foundation of international nonproliferation system status, unable to coerce the Agency to engage in proliferation activities and promote the military purposes, unable to kidnap the secretariat, and unable to block the intergovernmental review process, which was agreed upon by consensus in the governing council of the agency on four occasions.

Attempts by the three countries to impose the "legitimacy" of their nuclear submarine cooperation on all agency members through the text are unpopular and doomed to fail. Only by adhering to the right direction, international rules, the inter-governmental review process led by member states, and seeking common ground while shelving differences, can the question of trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation be resolved, Wang said.

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

China's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun at the IAEA General Conference on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese mission to UN in Vienna

Wang said no one can stop the ongoing inter-governmental review process on the US-UK-Australia trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation and trying to break away from the inter-agency intergovernmental review process will not work.

China urges the three countries to return to the track of the non-proliferation system, not to make repeated mistakes on the road of nuclear proliferation and not to go against the will of the international community, Wang said.
Well, according to the always honest, always reliable, and dependable Indian journalism, India thwarted this latest attempt by China at IEA

 

Bellum_Romanum

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Well, according to the always honest, always reliable, and dependable Indian journalism, India thwarted this latest attempt by China at IEA

If this is true, then India is trying to really worm itself into the Anglo-Saxon club, they sort of reminds me of how Imperial Japan was acting during the colonial era. Here, we have the ganging up of the Democratic countries of the world a.ka. civilized nations vs. autocratic, uncouth, wildly unpredictable China under the dictatorial control of the just recently couped Xi. Times may have changed, but some things will never go away and remains the same. The strategy of trying to contain, subdue, and once again beating down on China doesn't seem to stop. India, the new wannabe white country.
 

Lethe

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Anthony Albanese will meet the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, ending three years of diplomatic deep freeze between the two countries.

Australia’s prime minister confirmed the conversation would take place on Tuesday evening on the sidelines of the G20 [....]

Diplomatic signals had been pointing to the breakthrough meeting with Australia for the best part of a week. Albanese spoke to China’s premier, Li Keqiang, at a gala dinner in Phnom Penh on Saturday night and signalled subsequently he was happy to meet Xi in Bali “without preconditions” as part of efforts to stabilise the relationship [....]

After the meeting between Albanese and Biden, the Chinese premier said on Monday through state media his country was ready to meet Australia “halfway” in recognition that the two countries this year marked 50 years of diplomatic recognition.

Australia’s prime minister confirmed his own meeting with Xi immediately after landing in Bali on Monday afternoon.

“We enter this discussion with goodwill,” Albanese told reporters.

“There are no preconditions on this discussion. I’m looking forward to having constructive dialogue. I’ve said since I became the prime minister, but before then as well, that dialogue is always a good thing. We need to talk in order to develop mutual understanding”.

Glad to see that the adults are back in charge in Canberra. "Chest-thumping hostility towards China" may play well with Washington and in the polls, but it is not a strategy that advances the national interest. It is also reassuring to see that Beijing is evidently willing to continue on the path of thawing relations that it first signalled with the arrival of Xiao Qian as China's Ambassador to Australia back in January.
 

AndrewS

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From the 2022 Iseas survey below.
ASEAN generally views AUKUS as a bad thing

iseas.edu.sg/articles-commentaries/state-of-southeast-asia-survey/the-state-of-southeast-asia-2022-survey-report/

---

Q20. VIEWS ON THE AUSTRALIA-UK-US TRILATERAL SECURITY ARRANGEMENT (AUKUS)

Negative - 52.8% Total

22.5% It will escalate the regional arms race
18% It will weaken ASEAN centrality
12.3% It will undermine the nuclear weapons nonproliferation regime

Neutral
10.8% It will not affect the regional balance of power

Positive
36.4% It will help balance China’s growing military power
 

Lethe

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French President Emmanual Macron has
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some not-so-old wounds with Australia regarding the AUKUS nuclear submarine program:

"We don't believe in hegemony, we don't believe in confrontation, we believe in stability," Macron told the Asai Pacific Economic Forum in Bangkok. “We are in the jungle and we have two big elephants, trying to become more and more nervous ... If they become very nervous and start war it will be a big problem for the rest of the jungle. You need cooperation of a lot of other animals: tigers, monkeys, and so on.”

In this animal analogy, Australia would be one of those annoying small dogs that simply won't stop barking from behind its fence or its owner's legs.

But the choice made by [Australia] was the opposite, re-entering into nuclear confrontation, making himself completely dependent by deciding to equip themselves [with a] submarine fleet that the Australians are incapable of producing and maintaining in-house,” Macron told reporters, per the Telegraph.

Rather undiplomatic, but perfectly accurate.
 

Lethe

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The US will increase rotations of its air, land and sea forces to Australia and has condemned China’s “dangerous and coercive actions” across the Indo-Pacific region.

As part of the step-up in defence ties, the US plans to preposition munitions and fuel in Australia to support its military forces. Airfields in northern Australia are set to be upgraded to enable rotations of US aircraft.

The defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, also said the US would not allow Australia to experience a capability gap in its naval forces and pledged to help the country acquire nuclear-powered submarines “as quickly as possible”. [....]

Austin said the US would “increase rotations of our air, land and sea forces” to Australia as the two countries were “determined to be a force for stability” in the region.

“That includes rotations of bomber task forces, fighters and future rotations of US navy and US army capabilities,” Austin said, adding that the specific details would be worked out by officials and announced at a later date.

In a sign of growing trilateral cooperation with Tokyo, Austin said Japan would also be invited “to integrate into our force posture initiatives in Australia”.

Wednesday’s announcement is the latest step in the growth of the US presence in Australia, which already includes US Marines rotating through Darwin under a plan first put in place by the Gillard government and Obama administration.

A US-funded aircraft parking apron at RAAF Base Tindal, 320km south-east of Darwin, will be capable of accommodating up to six B-52 long-range, heavy bomber aircraft once constructed, officials confirmed earlier this year.

Not much to be said that hasn't been said before. I regret that my nation has chosen this path, but this is where we are.

When the missiles hit RAAF and RAN bases across northern Australia after some idiot in Taipei pushes Beijing too far, I will at least have the satisfaction of saying "I told you so."
 
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weig2000

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Not much to be said that hasn't been said before. I regret that my nation has chosen this path, but this is where we are.

When the missiles hit RAAF and RAN bases across northern Australia after some idiot in Taipei pushes Beijing too far, I will at least have the satisfaction of saying "I told you so."

Everyone who cares to know knows that the 1st-island chain is a lost cause for the US by now. Even Guam is not safe for military bases and assets, the contested battle fronts are now pushing between the 2nd- and 3rd- island chains, towards the latter soon (Alaska, Hawaii, Northern Australia), see the debates about B21 vs H20, DF-27, etc.

The current Australia administration has done a better job to be quieter in the US-China contest, relative to the previous one. Australia needs to disentangle itself from the military aspects of the US-China rivalry, when it is not directly related to Australia security. UK, Canada and some European nations can pay lip service about Indo-Pacific or even Taiwan, Australia would be directly involved if it goes down the current trajectory.
 

Lethe

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The current Australia administration has done a better job to be quieter in the US-China contest, relative to the previous one. Australia needs to disentangle itself from the military aspects of the US-China rivalry, when it is not directly related to Australia security. UK, Canada and some European nations can pay lip service about Indo-Pacific or even Taiwan, Australia would be directly involved if it goes down the current trajectory.

Well, yes, but that is clearly not happening. And at this point we can be fairly confident that it won't happen, because the further we go down this path the more difficult it becomes to change course. There is no polite way to tell the Americans to fuck off with their bombers once they are based here. See the case of Japan and the US Marines in Okinawa. The immediate political costs of trying to reverse these entanglements would be untenable under all but the most extreme circumstances. No, we've chained ourselves to the deck of the American ship, and we can now only hope that its captain does not run us aground on the rocks of history.
 

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