Home > Events and Activities
Caution against Moving in the Opposite Direction and Acting as a Cat’s Paw  - Comments by the Chinese Delegation on the First Written Report on AUKUS by IAEA Director General
2022-09-13 20:28

The September Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency was convened in Vienna on September 12-16, 2022. For the first time, the Director General of the IAEA, Mr. Grossi, submitted his first written report to the Board of Governors on the issue of AUKUS. On September 13th, speaking in an interview with Chinese and foreign journalists on the above-mentioned report of the Director General, the spokesman of the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna called on the Director General not to act as a cat’s paw by endorsing the nuclear proliferation acts of the three countries. 

The spokesman said the Director General submitted a written report for the first time on the issue of AUKUS after repeated calls from Member States. This is a step in the right direction only from a procedural point of view. However, at the same time, substantively the report is seriously flawed because it unilaterally quoted the three countries' statements to justify their actions, without mentioning the major concerns of the international community about the proliferation risks associated with their nuclear submarine cooperation, ignoring the solemn positions of many countries that the cooperation is contrary to the objective and purpose of the NPT. The report lacks a legitimate legal basis and exceeds its authority by making misleading conclusions that are contrary to reality. This is a violation of the responsibilities of the Director General. 

The spokesperson noted that firstly, the Director General cannot override Member States and undertake activities without due mandates from them.  The duties of the Secretariat and the Director-General are clearly defined in the Agency’s relevant documents. The Director-General cannot, for any reason, override or overrule Member States who are sovereign and to whose authority the Director-General must submit. He shall, and can, act only in accordance with the mandate given to him by the Member States. 

Secondly, the Director General cannot be involved in nuclear proliferation and the furtherance of military purposes. It is for the first time in history that by the trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation the Nuclear-Weapon-States have openly committed to proliferated nuclear weapons material to a NPT Non-Nuclear-Weapon-State. As the Agency is a non-proliferation agency, it cannot be turned into a nuclear proliferation agency. The Director General cannot afford" to engage in nuclear proliferation. To endorse and accept nuclear proliferation by the three countries would be a direct violation of the NPT, the wishes of the international community and the Agency’s Statute. 

Thirdly, the Director General cannot be reduced to a political tool of the three countries and be used to make misleading conclusions. In the absence of a legitimate legal basis and mandates from Member States, the Director General took the liberty of dealing with nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries which in fact is an act of nuclear proliferation, and even made a series of conclusions such as the application of CSA to their nuclear submarine cooperation under AUKUS even before the required declaration by the three countries of their nuclear materials and nuclear activities in the first place. This is devoid of any legal basis and patently absurd. 

Fourth, the Director General cannot sever the subordinate relationship between the Agency's CSA and the NPT, which explicitly prohibits any form of nuclear proliferation activities. The invocation by the Director General's report of the "exception clause" of the CSA to exempt the three countries from acts of nuclear proliferation is procedurally, substantively and jurisprudentially untenable. If allowed to proceed, the safeguards system will be reduced to a "safe haven" for acts of nuclear proliferation. 

The spokesperson finally stressed that China urged the three countries to immediately stop these acts of nuclear proliferation and called on the Director General to make an impartial and objective report on the issue of nuclear submarine cooperation under AUKUS. The spokesperson further stressed that if the Director-General did anything less than that he would be acting as a cat’s paw by endorsing the nuclear proliferation acts of the three countries. China also called on all Member States of the Agency to continue to discuss the AUKUS issue, including the Director General's report, under the item proposed by China and agreed upon by consensus by the Board of Governors three times, so as to jointly safeguard the international non-proliferation system. 

Suggest To A Friend: