Cambodian PM says AUKUS becoming concern for ASEAN over nuclear proliferation

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, US. Photo: Xinhua

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday that the tripartite AUKUS alliance, a military pact among the United States, Britain and Australia, is becoming a concern for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Under the AUKUS alliance, which was announced in September 2021, Australia will be able to build nuclear-powered submarines with technology provided by the United States and Britain.

"The small-scale alliance relevant to nuclear-powered submarines among the U.S., Britain and Australia is becoming a concern for ASEAN and countries in the region because ASEAN is a nuclear weapon-free zone, and we oppose nuclear weapon proliferation," he said in a speech during the graduation ceremony of nearly 6,000 students at the Royal University of Law and Economics.

Hun Sen said this military alliance is the "starting point of a very dangerous arms race" in the region.

"I think if this situation continues, the world will face a bigger danger," he said.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said AUKUS is posing a major security threat to ASEAN and the whole Asian region.

"This alliance will trigger a conventional and nuclear arms race in the region, and thus destabilize the peace and security, undermine the economic development and destroy the ASEAN's centrality," he told Xinhua.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Related Articles