The US said on Tuesday it had sought clarification from China on the sale of two civilian nuclear reactors to Pakistan, saying the deal must be approved by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
“We’ve asked China to clarify the details of its sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that the US had decided to object to the deal.
“This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership in the NSG,” Crowley added.
“We believe that such cooperation would require specific exemption approved by consensus of the NSG, as was done for India.”
The 45-member NSG, which controls the export and sale of nuclear technology worldwide, has granted a waiver for India, a nuclear weapons state that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The group controls trade in “dual-use” nuclear fuel, materials and technology to ensure they are applied only to civilian nuclear energy programs and not diverted into clandestine nuclear weapons work.
The Financial Times reported in April that Chinese companies will build at least two new 650-megawatt reactors at Chashma in Punjab province.
It quoted an expert saying China likely felt emboldened to go ahead with the deal after the US signed a civilian nuclear agreement with India in 2008.
The Washington Post reported that 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.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 17th, 2010.
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