Beijing: Amid reports that US and Vietnam were in "advanced negotiations" on a nuclear deal, top Chinese scholars have accused America of trying to contain China and said Beijing cannot turn a blind eye to the moves "disturbing" the global order.
"The US is used to employing double standards when dealing with different countries ... as a global power that has promoted denuclearisation, it has challenged its own reputation and disturbed the preset international order," said Teng Jianqun, Deputy Director of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
He was reacting to a report in the Wall Street Journal that US and Vietnam, two former Cold War foes, are in advanced talks to share nuclear fuel and technology, which could "unsettle" China.
Under the agreement, Hanoi will reportedly be allowed to enrich uranium on its own soil, a move that is also expected to hamper global nuclear non-proliferation efforts, state-run `China Daily` said.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet reacted to the news.
Noting that the US has also signed a civil nuclear deal with India which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the daily claimed that the agreement was granted an exemption due to the American insistence. It did not refer to the approval granted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), of which China is a part, to the Indo-US deal.
There was also no reference to China`s own decision to construct two new 650 mw nuclear power plants for Pakistan, disregarding concerns of the US and India.
At the NSG meeting held in New Zealand in June, China had not informed the 46-member group about the development. Questions from NSG members to the Chinese officials attending the meeting elicited no response.
"Washington thinks that because Asia is much different from the Middle East and will be less concerned about nuclear terrorism, its deal with Hanoi will not attract too much opposition," Teng said.
Beijing will not be directly threatened by the deal but it will still have to be on its guard, Li Qinggong, Deputy Secretary General of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies said, adding "we cannot turn a blind eye to the situation”.
"It means the US is strengthening cooperation with Vietnam to contain China. To Washington, the geo-strategic consideration has surpassed nuclear non-proliferation," Fan Jishe, a researcher of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.
"But the latest development is certainly not going to block China`s way forward. It is sad that the US still has a Cold War mentality. On the other hand, China need not panic or raise its voice," Teng said.