UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 9 -- China's Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Li Song delivered a keynote speech at the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on August 8, expounding China’s position and proposition on nuclear non-proliferation issues in an all-round manner, resolutely opposing the AUKUS (a security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, and warning Japan and related countries not to replicate “nuclear sharing” in the Asia-Pacific region.
Li Song said that the NPT is the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation system. Any act of utilizing nuclear proliferation to serve narrow geopolitical self-interests runs counter to the original purpose of the treaty on non-proliferation and seriously undermines the effectiveness and authority of the treaty. The US has engaged in bloc politics and camp confrontation, piecing together exclusive “small circles and groups”, having instigated incidents and made trouble in the Asia-Pacific region, posing new impacts and challenges to the international nuclear non-proliferation system. The AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation and the “nuclear sharing” argument in the Asia-Pacific region are two major new issues facing the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Li Song stressed that the unprecedented AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation is a “textbook case” of nuclear proliferation. The geo-strategic intention of the three countries is obvious and well known to all. The US and UK, as depositors of the NPT and counties possessing nuclear weapons, brazenly decided to transfer nuclear submarine power reactors and tons of weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium to non-nuclear-weapon states, posing a serious proliferation risk, and fully exposing their “double standards”. The AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation is bound to threaten the security of Asia-Pacific countries, provoke camp confrontations and arms races, and thus cause serious damage to the Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones in South Pacific and Southeast Asia. It is a blatant violation of the purposes of the NPT. China urges the three countries to change course, revoking the decision to carry out the nuclear submarine cooperation mentioned above, and instead doing something good to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Li also said that the “nuclear sharing” runs counter to the purposes and principles of the NPT, and is itself nuclear proliferation. China urges the US to abolish the “nuclear sharing” policy and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad. It is worth noting that there are signs indicating “nuclear sharing” has been spreading to the Asia-Pacific region. There have been repeated voices from Japan and other countries seeking “nuclear sharing” with the US. In Japan’s report to this Review Conference, the Three Non-Nuclear Principles mentioned in previous reports have been deleted. Does this mean that Japan’s nuclear non-proliferation policy has undergone a major adjustment? The Japanese side owes a clear explanation to the State Parties and the international community.
As stressed by Li, any attempt to replicate the “nuclear sharing” model in the Asia-Pacific region is blatant nuclear proliferation, which will surely be firmly opposed by countries in the region or severely countered when necessary.