China-US talks on Beijing`s N-deal with Pak

China & US on Tuesday held crucial talks on South Asian region" ahead of bilateral dialogue later this month.

Updated: May 05, 2010, 00:12 AM IST

Beijing: China and the US on Tuesday held
crucial "consultations on South Asian region" ahead of their
bilateral strategic dialogue here later this month as Beijing
plans to deepen nuclear cooperation with Pakistan by building
two new atomic reactors for its "all weather" ally.

Robert Blake, the US Assistant Secretary of State for
South Asia, is currently visiting China for "consultations on
South Asian region", said Jiang Yu, the Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesperson, declining to go into details of the
"consultations" on the Indian sub-continent.

Blake’s talks with the Chinese leaders was part of the
preparatory meetings for a crucial bilateral strategic
dialogue to be held here on May 23 to be attended by the US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

China`s commitment to build two nuclear power plants
for Pakistan was announced by China National Nuclear
Corporation (CNNC). In a brief statement on its website
recently, CNNC said it had reached an agreement "with the aim
of developing an overseas nuclear power electricity market".

Last week, Jiang tacitly acknowledged China`s
commitment to build two 650 mw nuclear power plants for
Pakistan, saying that the two countries have been cooperating
in the field of nuclear energy.

"This cooperation respects international obligations,
for peaceful purposes and accepts International Atomic Energy
Agency`s (IAEA) regulations and supervision," she had said.

The Sino-US strategic dialogue was expected to cover
all aspects of South Asian region, including the
India-Pakistan relations.

China has already built two reactors with capacity of
about 350 MW at Chashma in Pakistan?s Punjab province.

Under the new agreement, Chinese companies will build
at least two new 650-MW reactors at Chashma. The revelations
of China’s decision to go ahead with the two reactors comes
weeks after the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington attended
by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

A Pakistani official was quoted by the Financial Times
as welcoming the deal, saying: "Our Chinese brothers have once
again lived up to our expectations. They have agreed to
continue cooperating with us in the nuclear energy field."

While the deal was seen here as confirmation by China
to continue with its policy to regard Pakistan as a "all
weather" strategic partner, there is still no information on
how Beijing plans to build the reactors without the approval
of the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the
multinational body seeking to control trade in atomic