A​ustralia to PH: Cooperation​ with IAEA on nuclear safety assured

At a glance

  • Photo courtesy of US President Joe Biden's official Twitter account

Australia has assured the Philippines that it will cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as it pushes through with its purchase of several nuclear-powered agency from Western allies

The Australian Embassy in Manila made the pronouncement on Friday after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) backed but expressed concern about the submarine deal among Australia, Britain and the United States (AUKUS).

"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," the embassy said.

IAEA is the world's center for cooperation in the nuclear field, promoting the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology

In fact, Philippine officials were briefed about deal prior to the joint announcement that came from the leaders of the three countries, according to the embassy.

That was what Australian officials did when they travelled to Manila, it added.

"Australia regularly engages with Philippine officials on a wide range of regional security issues," it said, adding that Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence, and Chief of the Australian Defence Force also spoke to their counterparts by phone.

On Thursday, DFA expressed no objection against the deal as it said Manila "remains committed to strengthening our existing bilateral security arrangements in the region."

"The Philippines appreciates the efforts of the AUKUS parties to provide information and developments on AUKUS, and in this regard, notes their recent announcement," it said.

While Beijing, with which Manila also has strong ties, objected the deal, Manila said the submarine purchase "are essential to our national development and to the security of the region."

"We consider it important for these arrangements to uphold ASEAN's central role in the regional security architecture, and reinforce an international rules-based order that underpins regional security and development," DFA said.

The Australian embassy said it welcomes the views of the Philippine government, including of the DFA.