China says more talks needed to build consensus on nuclear export club

Published: June 12, 2016
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei. PHOTO: REUTERS

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING: China said on Sunday that more talks were needed to build a consensus on which countries can join the main group controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology, after a push by the United States to include India.

China is seen as leading opposition to the US move to include India in the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), but other countries, including New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa and Austria also oppose Indian membership, according to diplomats.

Pakistan seeks NSG membership to curb nuclear proliferation

The NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by restricting the sale of items that can be used to make those arms.

India already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington, even though India has developed atomic weapons and never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the main global arms control pact.

“Large differences” remain over the issue of non-NPT countries joining the NSG, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an online statement.

“With regard to what to do on the issue of non-NPT signatories joining (the NSG), China consistently supports having ample discussion on this to seek consensus and agreement and come to a unanimous decision,” Hong said.

China tells world to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty

“The NPT is the political and legal basis for the entire international non-proliferation system,” Hong said, adding that China would support the group in further talks to come to a consensus at an early date. Opponents argue that granting India membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation.

It would also infuriate India’s rival Pakistan, which responded to India’s membership bid with one of its own and has the backing of its close ally China. Pakistan joining would be unacceptable to many, given its track record.

The scientist that headed its nuclear weapons programme ran an illicit network for years that sold nuclear secrets to countries including North Korea and Iran.

India clears final hurdle to join missile control group, diplomats say

A decision on Indian membership is not expected before an NSG plenary meeting in Seoul on June 20, but diplomats have said Washington has been pressuring hold-outs.

Most of the hold-outs oppose the idea of admitting a non-NPT state such as India and argue that if it is to be admitted, it should be under criteria that apply equally to all states rather than under a “tailor-made” solution for a US ally.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Salim Khan
    Jun 12, 2016 - 4:14PM

    Rest assured China will oppose NSG membership for India. This is the most foolish thing from China. Why? Because India has already got special permission in 2008 to get all the benefits of membership. Its a mere formality now to get India into the club. Membership or not India is getting all the benefits of NSG membership. Now India knows what China is upto and they will not allow China to join MTCR (The Missile Tech control regime), even when China got into World Trading Organisation because of India. Recommend

  • vinsin
    Jun 12, 2016 - 11:46PM

    @Salim Khan:
    No, India cannot export her nuclear reactor in International market. You are right that China opposition doesnt make sense at this point. China got North Korea, Tibet and UNSC veto power because of India.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jun 13, 2016 - 2:10AM

    What India needs more than NSG membership, a lot more than NSG membership, is technology to use Thorium for nuclear energy. India has the world’s largest, if not one of the world’s largest deposits of Thorium. But, it lacks technology to use Thorium to produce electricity. With US help, India can develop this technology.Recommend

  • Jun 14, 2016 - 1:12AM

    India must not join NSG as it has not signed NPT.Which means that nuclear technology is undafe with india,s poor technolgy .
    Pakistan is equally a nuclear power but USA is dupporting indua just pressurise the Pakistan strogest ties with China and specially the Gawddar port.
    If NSG is accepting india so must be Pakistan otherwise no one.Recommend

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