Terming AUKUS as a "textbook case" of nuclear proliferation based on the "Cold War mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical calculation", a Geneva-based Chinese diplomat on Wednesday criticised the formation of the AUKUS pact among the United States, Britain and Australia.
AUKUS is a trilateral security pact announced on September 15, will allow Australia to have nuclear submarines. Australia has defended the move by saying it has done the pact for a secure Indo-Pacific region.
Speaking at a virtual presser, Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Li Song said that the deal constitutes a serious challenge to the letter and spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Xinhua reported.
Li Song told reporters that AUKUS is also an awkward example set by the United States, Britain and Australia in their so-called "leadership" in non-proliferation.
"As the depositary states of the NPT, the United States and Britain are to help Australia, a non-nuclear-weapon state, to obtain nuclear-powered submarines, sensitive nuclear materials including tons of weapon-grade Uranium, and other relevant technologies and equipment. Such cooperation has never happened in the history of the NPT," Li said.
"To put it in a nutshell, AUKUS is like a fire, the comprehensive safeguard mechanism is like a piece of paper. You just can't cover the fire with paper," the Chinese envoy was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The Chinese envoy also pointed out that such cooperation will lead to a wider range of impacts to regional nuclear-weapon-free zones in South Pacific and Southeast Asia, spur regional arms race, undermine regional unity and cooperation.