Washington: Seeking clarifications from
China on the sale of two nuclear reactors to Pakistan, the US
has insisted that the deal needs an exemption from the Nuclear
Supplier`s Group to go ahead.
"We have asked China to clarify the details of its
sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan," State
Department spokesperson P J Crowley told reporters at his
daily news briefing.
He said the deal "appears to extend beyond cooperation
that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership
in the NSG."
"If China wishes to proceed with this (nuclear deal
with Pakistan), they are going to require an exemption from
the Nuclear Suppliers Group," a senior State Department
official told reporters.
Asked about US` stand on the issue, the official said,
it had asked China to clarify the details of its second sale
of additional reactors to Pakistan but stopped short of
opposing it publicly.
"The NSG operates by consensus and we will have the
opportunity to weigh in," he said.
The official was responding to questions as to why the
United States is "not publicly opposing" the China-Pak nuclear
deal, despite the fact that it has serious concerns over
Pakistan`s track record on nuclear proliferations.
"We believe that such cooperation would require a
specific exemption approved by consensus of the Nuclear
Suppliers Group, as was done for India. So we`re not looking
at any difference between the two," Crowley said.
The State Department spokesman said that the US has
been taking up this issue with the Chinese periodically.
"I believe this was an issue that we`ve had, you know,
periodic discussions with China for some time," he said.
The China-Pak nuclear deal is expected to come up
before the 46-nation NSG meeting next week in New Zealand.
In a recent article, a prominent American nuclear
expert said this would breach international protocol about the
trade of nuclear equipment and material.
"The move would breach international protocol about
the trade of nuclear equipment and material," Mark Hibbs, said
in the latest issue in the June issue of the prestigious
Foreign Policy magazine.
The Washington Post said China has suggested that the
sale is grandfathered from before it joined the NSG in 2004,
because it was completing work on two earlier reactors for
Pakistan at the time. But US officials disagree on the issue.