March 14 () –
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will monitor that “no risk of proliferation emanates” from the agreement signed on Monday by Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States –baptized as AUKUS– and that contemplates the manufacture and delivery of propulsion submarines nuclear power, the result of a tripartite alliance that wants to counter the threat from China.
The US president, Joe Biden, and the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Australia, Rishi Sunak and Anthony Albanese, confirmed the agreement after a meeting in California. For the first time in more than six decades, the United States will share key technology for its defense industry, allowing Australia to bolster its capabilities.
The director of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, has confirmed that the parties have notified him of these new agreements and that he will review whether they comply with the safeguards that the countries themselves have agreed to comply with in nuclear matters. All of them have “obligations” to fulfill, both in the case of the United Kingdom and the United States, which are indeed nuclear powers, and in that of Australia.
Grossi, whose agency promises to examine the documents in an “impartial, objective and technical” manner, has also pointed out that the AUKUS countries have already expressed their “commitment” to “maintain the integrity of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.” The director plans to transfer any future conclusion to the IAEA board of governors and to the member states of this body, linked to the UN.
Monday’s agreement is the first tangible pact of an alliance that initially upset France, which was left without a previous military contract with Australia, and which makes no secret of its desire to be a counterweight to China’s growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Under the new commitments, Australia will purchase three submarines from the United States, with the possibility of purchasing another two if deemed necessary by the parties. The United Kingdom and Australia will host the manufacture of a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines with direct support from the United States.