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China unlikely to support Indo-US nuke deal
Anil K Joseph in Beijing | November 07, 2006 18:46 IST
Chinese President Hu Jintao is unlikely to provide explicit support for the historic Indo-US nuclear agreement during his upcoming maiden visit to New Delhi, a senior Chinese diplomat indicated in Beijing on Tuesday.
Asked specifically whether Hu will discuss the Indo-US nuclear deal with Indian leaders, Assistant Chinese Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai noted that "many people were concerned about it."
At a special briefing on Hu's November 20-23 state visits to India and Pakistan from November 23-26, Cui said countries can carry out peaceful nuclear energy cooperation but it should be conducive to the maintenance of the non-proliferation regime in the international community.
"We are ready to create such cooperation on the precondition that we fulfil our obligation under the non-proliferation regime," he said when asked whether Hu would discuss nuclear energy cooperation with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad.
Responding to repeated questions on the Indo-US nuclear energy deal, Cui said China's stance on nuclear cooperation in the international arena was "not targeted" at any country.
"As a principle, we believe that countries can carry out international cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy on the basis of fulfilling their international obligations," he said.
"But we should also work harder for nuclear non-proliferation," he said.
"Our position is not targeted at any particular country, it is universally applied to all countries," the assistant minister said.
In the past, China had expressed reservations over the India-US civilian nuclear deal, saying India has not yet inked the Non Proliferation Treaty.
Even if the US Congress passes the Indo-US nuclear deal, the NSG has to okay it.
China, a member of the NSG, had apparently voiced concern about the Indo-US nuclear deal during previous meetings of the Vienna-based group.
The People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece as well as other official Chinese media had criticised the Indo-US nuclear deal in the past, saying it would jeopardise the international community's non-proliferation efforts.