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