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Recent comments by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China relating to AUKUS

International relations

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China’s statement on nuclear-powered submarine cooperation under AUKUS, issued on 20 September, contains numerous misleading and incorrect assertions.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) does not prohibit the acquisition of naval nuclear propulsion by non-nuclear weapon states.

Australia’s proposed acquisition of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines will be fully consistent with our international obligations under the NPT regime.

We reaffirm our commitment that Australia will not acquire nuclear weapons.

We are committed to setting the highest possible non-proliferation standard and to strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.

We welcome Director-General Grossi’s report to the September IAEA Board of Governors meeting, confirming his satisfaction with the AUKUS’ partners engagement with the IAEA to date and that naval nuclear propulsion is not prohibited by the NPT regime.

Director-General Grossi’s report also affirms that Australia has consistently complied with its reporting obligations under our Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.

We are deeply disappointed by China’s – a P5 member and nuclear weapons state – unfounded and harmful claims about the professionalism and independence of the IAEA.

We fully support the authority and independence of the IAEA and Director-General Grossi and will continue to work with the IAEA, in line with our non-proliferation and safeguards obligations, to develop a robust verification approach for our proposed nuclear-powered submarines program.

The IAEA is the sole authority – under the NPT legal framework – to negotiate with Member States the establishment, and application, of safeguards arrangements.

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