Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks
2021/09/29

Beijing Youth Daily: Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasseh Damukana Sogavare said in a statement at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 26 that Solomon Islands is a party to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. He said, "we therefore would like to keep our region nuclear free and put the region's nuclear legacy behind us. The ocean remains the life blood for our survival." This reminds us of the recent nuclear submarine cooperation agreement struck by the US, UK and Australia, which may pose similar risks to the South Pacific. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: The South Pacific is a victim and the worst inflicted region of nuclear pollution. Many of you may not know that between 1946 and 1958, the US conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, causing irretrievable, irreversible and enormous damage to the life, health and safety of the local people and biological environment. The US has dumped nuclear waste into the Pacific for 63 times, the fallout of which takes a toll on people of the Marshall Islands, leading to hikes in the incidence rate of cancer, leukemia, birth defects and other diseases. The levels of plutonium-239 and -240 in the soil samples from the Bikini Atoll are more than 1,000 times higher than those of Fukushima and Chernobyl.

The nuclear submarine cooperation among the US, the UK and Australia undermines the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and again casts a shadow of nuclear proliferation over the South Pacific, thus inevitably inviting concerns and doubts from countries in the region and beyond. The people of the South Pacific region should never be sacrificed again for the pursuit of bloc politics and military confrontation by a handful of countries. The US, UK and Australia should discard the outdated Cold War mentality, act with a sense of responsibility and revoke their wrong decision, and avoid scourging the innocent people of the South Pacific island countries.

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