The AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, a trilateral alliance between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, has raised serious concerns about its impact on regional and global security. Recently, a joint report by the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association and Russia’s Center for Energy and Security Studies highlighted the risks posed by this deal to the international non-proliferation regime and overall global security. In this article, we will delve into the key issues presented in the report and explore the potential implications of the AUKUS deal.
The Threat to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime
The AUKUS deal allows Australia to construct nuclear-powered submarines using technology provided by the US and the UK. However, this cooperation raises concerns about the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as it involves the transfer of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium from nuclear-weapon states to a non-nuclear-weapon state. The joint report asserts that this unprecedented military cooperation contradicts the goals and spirit of the NPT, potentially damaging the entire non-proliferation regime.
Exploiting Gaps in the Non-Proliferation Regime
The report points out that the AUKUS deal exploits a critical loophole in the non-proliferation regime, which can diminish political and moral barriers to nuclear proliferation. By allowing non-nuclear-weapon states access to advanced nuclear technology, this deal could inadvertently encourage other countries to consider nuclear weapon options, leading to an arms race and, possibly, a nuclear submarine arms race. Such an outcome could severely destabilize global security.
Challenges to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The IAEA plays a crucial role in ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear technology and safeguarding against its misuse. However, the joint report raises concerns about the potential politicization of the IAEA Secretariat through behind-the-scenes discussions between AUKUS parties and the IAEA. Such politicization could erode trust in the IAEA and undermine its effectiveness in maintaining global nuclear safeguards.
Recommendations for Addressing the Risks
To mitigate the risks associated with the AUKUS deal, the joint report recommends involving IAEA member states and the IAEA Board of Governors in devising a reliable and effective arrangement for the deal. Open and inclusive dialogue and cooperation among all nations are urged to uphold the international non-proliferation regime. The report calls for a careful examination of the AUKUS deal’s implications to ensure its alignment with the NPT and broader non-proliferation objectives.
The AUKUS nuclear submarine deal has sparked significant apprehension within the global community. The joint report by the Chinese and Russian think tanks serves as a timely warning about the potential ramifications of this military cooperation on international security and the non-proliferation regime. As discussions surrounding the AUKUS deal continue, it is vital for all nations to engage in constructive dialogue and collaboration to address the concerns and uphold the principles of the NPT. By doing so, the international community can work together to maintain global security and prevent any adverse consequences stemming from this controversial alliance.