TEHRAN – China has criticized the West for applying double standards with respect to nuclear non-proliferation, saying that the West strictly pressures Iran over nuclear issues while giving Australia weapons-grade nuclear material.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks in response to a question on the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation between the U.S., the UK, and Australia.
“The IAEA has reviewed the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation for the eighth consecutive time. The review shows that the cooperation involves complex political, security, legal and technical issues and has led to serious concerns and controversy in the international community. The US, the UK and Australia claim to abide by the ‘rules-based international order’, but when it comes to their own fulfillment of non-proliferation obligations, they blatantly apply double standards and place selfish geopolitical interests above nuclear nonproliferation,” he said at a regular press conference on Friday.
AUKUSs is a security pact between Australia, the UK, and the U.S. based on which London and Washington agreed to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The pact angered France and raised concerns in China. France took Umbridge at the pact because it already had a deal with Australia to provide a non-nuclear-powered submarines. However, at the UK and U.S. urging, Australia scuttled the deal and turned to London and Washington for the nuclear submarines.
And China is concerned because AUKUS is seen as a new security alliance against China.
“Looking back on past discussions at the IAEA, whenever the US, the UK and Australia sought to set the rules for other countries, they would always stress the importance of ‘the intergovernmental process led by member states.’ However, when it comes to AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation, all they do is thwart the intergovernmental process involving all parties, attempt to coerce the IAEA Secretariat into accepting their proposal and impose the so-called “rules” on other member states. What kind of “rules-based” behavior is that?” Wang added.
He continued, “On the Iranian nuclear issue, the US, the UK and some other countries wouldn’t budge an inch and strictly prohibits Iran from obtaining highly-enriched uranium. However, the two countries plan to transfer to Australia tons of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium of over 90% purity through their nuclear submarine cooperation. The contrast once again laid bare their hypocrisy on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation.”
The spokesperson noted, “We urge the US, the UK and Australia to earnestly fulfill their international obligations on nuclear non-proliferation and stop double standard and political manipulation. We call for joint efforts by all IAEA member states to advance an open, inclusive, transparent and sustainable inter-governmental discussion process to firmly defend the international nuclear non-proliferation system, uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and advance peace and security in the world. At the same time, we hope the IAEA Secretariat will follow through the IAEA Statute and its mandate from member states, fulfill its non-proliferation duty and help advance the inter-governmental discussion process.”
Source: Tehran Times