Australia to PH: AUKUS to work openly with IAEA on submarine deal

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

March 17, 2023, 3:00 pm

MANILA – The Australian Embassy on Friday assured the Philippines that AUKUS would be transparent in the implementation of its multi-year submarine deal.

AUKUS earlier unveiled a submarine project that will see Canberra acquiring conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines beginning in the early 2030s.

The embassy assured that AUKUS would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ensure its activities are aligned with international nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

“We welcome the views of the Philippine government, including the statement from the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” it said in a text message.

“Australia will always seek to work with our partners in the Philippines and Southeast Asia to shape our region together, and AUKUS partners will continue to work openly and transparently with the IAEA.”

Both Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles had spoken to their Filipino counterparts via phone before the submarine deal announcement, the embassy said.

"Australia regularly engages with Philippine officials on a wide range of regional security issues. Prior to the recent AUKUS announcement, Australian officials traveled from Canberra to Manila to brief Philippine counterparts while the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defense, and Chief of the Australian Defense Force also spoke to their counterparts by phone," it said.

The Philippine government, through the DFA, on Thursday took note of the three-country grouping’s nuclear submarine project.

It said arrangements like AUKUS must reinforce an international rules-based order that underpins regional security and development.

The US, meanwhile, reiterated that AUKUS activities would be anchored on its commitment to promoting security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

“Allies are stronger when they work together. Through AUKUS, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are enhancing our collective capacity to maintain peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” US Embassy in Manila spokesperson Kanishka Gangopadhyay told the Philippine News Agency.

“As Allies, the United States is committed to coordinating closely with the Philippines on security issues.” (PNA)