Indonesia wants AUKUS submarines to be monitored by UN regulator

Singapore: Indonesia wants Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines to be closely monitored by the UN regulator and says it has “a very serious interest” in having such vessels pass through its waters.

Along with Southeast Asian neighbor Malaysia, Indonesia has expressed dismay at Australia’s submarine ambitions since announcing the AUKUS deal last September.

A US Virginia-class submarine that could form the basis for Australia's planned nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

A US Virginia-class submarine that could form the basis for Australia’s planned nuclear-powered submarine fleet.Recognition:US Navy

Now, in a working paper for the UN Conference on Non-Proliferation Review in New York this week, Jakarta has raised major concerns about the sharing of nuclear technology for military purposes, and security issues in the transportation and use of highly enriched uranium and the risk of it is redirected to weapons programs.

According to Tri Tharyat, director-general for multilateral cooperation at Indonesia’s foreign ministry, Malaysia supports Indonesia’s proposal for stricter rules on the sharing of nuclear material to fuel submarines.

“As an archipelagic state, whether we like it or not, [Indonesia] will definitely be passed by nuclear submarines, and therefore we have a very serious interest in implementing our proposals,” he said.

“The bottom line is that the use of nuclear power for submarines should be closely monitored by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. We hope that through our working paper, the IAEA will draw attention and steps towards an inspection to prevent proliferation from taking place.”

Indonesia’s submission to the conference came the same week that President Joko Widodo met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Beijing has made no secret of its opposition to Australia’s purchase of nuclear submarines from the United States or the United Kingdom under AUKUS, claiming it sets a dangerous precedent and violates the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, known as the NPT.

Although Australia or AUKUS were not mentioned in its working paper, Indonesia also argued that the sharing of nuclear technology and material for military purposes could run counter to the spirit and purpose of the NPT. Without proper safeguards, such safeguards “could be exploited to provide a protective shield for the diversion of this material [a] nuclear weapons program,” she warned.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/very-serious-interest-indonesia-wants-aukus-submarines-monitored-by-un-watchdog-20220801-p5b68k.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Indonesia wants AUKUS submarines to be monitored by UN regulator

Joel McCord

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