Australia committed to a nuclear-free Pacific

Australia this year celebrates 50 years of diplomatic relations with Samoa. We remain deeply committed to the security and prosperity of the Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific region. We seek to correct some inaccuracies reported by the Samoa Observer yesterday. 

On 16 September 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States—called AUKUS. The first major initiative under AUKUS is to support Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed nuclear-propelled submarines for operation by the Royal Australian Navy.

Australia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation remains unchanged – we stand by our record. Australia does not and will not seek nuclear weapons. We remain steadfast in our support of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, its cornerstone the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, and the Treaty of Rarotonga. We are committed to working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to maintain the integrity of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Australia’s strategic environment has deteriorated more rapidly than previously anticipated. The Indo-Pacific has become the centre of strategic competition, with unprecedented military modernisation. We are committed to developing a more capable defence force that will allow us to continue to help shape the future trajectory of the region in ways that support security and prosperity for all – Australians and our neighbours and partners, including our Pacific family. 

Australia acknowledges nuclear safety is a legitimate regional concern. We are committed to meeting the highest standards of nuclear stewardship, safety and security, and environmental management. We welcome the interest of Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Ma’atafa in a regional discussion in relation to our collective security. Australia will continue to engage with our Pacific family, including through the Pacific Islands Forum, and individually with Samoa and with other members, as we have done extensively since the announcement on 16 September. 

Australia will continue to pursue our objectives while working with all our partners to ensure we forge a positive future, together.

Emily Luck

Australian High Commissioner to Samoa

Samoa Observer

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