Sino-Pak nuke pact should not be viewed with double standards
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Last Updated: Monday, July 19, 2010, 22:09
  
Beijing: With the US and India raising concerns over the Sino-Pak nuclear agreement, a top Chinese expert on Monday said "double standards" should not be applied to the routine cooperation, given that Washington has a similar but much larger deal with India.

Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert from an official think tank said China's move to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan is a routine development, amid reports that Beijing had declined to provide details to Nuclear Suppliers Group of how it intends to move forward on its plans.

In an article, Fu, an Assistant Researcher at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, attached to the Chinese Foreign Ministry wrote in the web edition of the state-run China Daily that even the US has started talks with Pakistan about civil nuclear cooperation.

"It is illogical to approach the civil nuclear cooperation agreement between China and Pakistan using double standards. To some extent, similar cooperation - between the US and India - has provided China and Pakistan with a practical model," Fu said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday raised in Islamabad, what she called international concerns over the supply of nuclear reactors by China to Pakistan, referring to export controls and the A Q Khan proliferation network. India, too, has expressed concern over the agreement.

"Due to domestic political compulsions, the nuclear tycoons of the West cannot compete in Pakistan's nuclear reactors market. This should not, however, be made into an excuse to stop other nations' companies from initiating routine nuclear cooperation with Pakistan," the scholar wrote.

Fu, however, wrote that the Sino-Pak pact is a "routine development and a sign of pragmatic cooperation that will in fact be closely supervised by the concerned international authorities".

He said the project is being "closely supervised" by the IAEA and does not breach China's promise of nuclear non-proliferation as a member of the NSG.

He said the strategic cooperative endeavour is not intended at targeting any third party and is part of assistance in several fields to Pakistan.

The comments, first authoritative word by a Chinese official came amid reports that China has neither informed the recent NSG meeting nor sought its approval for its plans to build two 650 mw reactors for Pakistan.

Noted American analyst, Ashley Tellis in his latest article published by Carnegie foundation quoted US officials as saying that China has not broached the subject at the 20th Plenary meeting of the NSG held at Christchurch in New Zealand on June 24-25, contrary to a write up in China Daily in the run up to the meeting that China is going to notify NSG of its plans disregarding Indian and US concerns.

"Several NSG members had formally requested China to explain its intentions at Christchurch. They received an evasive response," Tellis wrote, in the first detailed account of what transpired at the NSG meeting.

"In a statement read out at the meeting, Beijing's representative assured the assembly in anodyne terms that all nuclear commerce between China and Pakistan would comply with the former's commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the NSG, but refused to address further this specific transaction," he said.

He wrote that China declined to answer critical questions about whether there was in fact a binding contract in place for the new reactor exports, when precisely this agreement was finalised.

In his article today, Fu said it was unfair for the US and India to complain about the nuclear agreement.

"Since it initiated large-scale nuclear cooperation with the US and Russia, it is groundless for India to complain about similar cooperation - on a much smaller scale - between Pakistan and China. It is India and the US that has opened the so-called nuclear Pandora's box," the Chinese expert said.

"The US has reportedly sold nuclear material to India ever since, while Russia is helping India build more than 10 reactors," he wrote.

PTI


First Published: Monday, July 19, 2010, 22:09


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