Le Monde newspaper wrote on Friday that the security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States and the supply of nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra poses a risk of nuclear proliferation in the Indo-Pacific regions.

“Washington’s decision to export US nuclear technology in order to push submarines to Australia is bad news on the issue of (nuclear weapons) proliferation,” the French daily stressed.

Le Monde has warned that the agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, known as AUKUS, may encourage other countries to buy nuclear submarines.

The newspaper draws attention to the consequences for global security of Australia’s breach of the contract to purchase French submarines powered by conventional propulsion, which was confirmed by the Australian authorities on Thursday.

He will appear as the seventh player in the world to own nuclear-powered attack ships in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, the agreement may include technologies that use highly enriched uranium, Le Monde wrote.

says Antoine Bondaz, an expert at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) in Paris. Bondaz says this transfer of sensitive technologies is undoubtedly “the beginning of a new cycle of activities” in the region.

Experts question whether Australian ships will use highly enriched uranium (HEU), such as those in the US Navy, or low-enriched vessels, such as French or Chinese ones.

Expert Emmanuel Maitre contends that importing US nuclear technology “first allows Australia to pull fissile material from its civilian stockpile and do what it wants in the military sector, with less control than the IAEA.” He remembers that only three countries – the US, UK and Russia – use HEU to power submarines or aircraft carriers.

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In light of the creation of a “peaceful NATO”, which the AUKUS alliance seems to be announced, China will develop its nuclear arsenal – Le Monde predicts.

China’s Global Times cites an anonymous military expert who explains that only countries with nuclear weapons use nuclear submarines, giving them the ability to deliver a second strike in a nuclear conflict started by another power.

Le Monde estimates that Australia has become a “potential target of a nuclear attack”. The paper concludes that “Beijing and Moscow will not treat Canberra as an innocent non-nuclear power, but as an ally of the United States that could be equipped with nuclear weapons at any time.”

From Paris, Catarzina Stako (PAP)

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