Beijing: With India seeking entry into the NSG, China on Monday said the 48-nation body will have "extensive discussions" about admission of new members ahead of its plenary meeting to be held in Seoul on June 24.
"As to how non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries can join the NSG, the group shall have extensive discussions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kong told a media briefing here replying to a question whether the group is likely to take a decision at the Seoul meeting.
China yesterday said no discussion about admission of new members was held at the June 9 meeting convened by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) chair Argentine Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi in Vienna.
"The Chair said that this meeting has no agenda and is only convened to heed opinions from all parties on the outreach of the NSG and prepare for a report to be submitted at the NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul later this month (June 24)," the ministry said yesterday.
While the US and a majority of the 48 members back India's admission, China along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria are reportedly opposed to India's entry.
China which is reportedly backing Pakistan's entry into the club maintains that there should be consensus about admitting non-NPT members into the grouping.
Asked how China views Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to the US and the absence of the mention of South China Sea issue in the Indo-US joint statement, Lu said, "India always upholds diplomatic policy of independence. We believe that it is independent choice India made in light of its own interests," he said outlining efforts by China and other east Asian countries to resolve the maritime dispute.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea while Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the waterway believed to be rich with oil and minerals.
About the completion of the formalities of India and Pakistan's admission into the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at its forthcoming summit in Tashkent later this month, Lu said, "I can't predict the outcome of the summit. But I am sure that this will be an important agenda".
"All the leaders will have in-depth discussions on the issue and ensure steady progress of the enlargement of the SCO," he said.