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Home > News > PTI > Report

China backs Indo-US nuclear deal

Anil K Joseph in Beijing | December 13, 2006 16:56 IST

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In a significant development, China on Wednesday signalled easing of its strident opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying cooperation in use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes will be 'beneficial' for maintaining effectiveness of global non-proliferation efforts.

"We consider the cooperation between countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purpose will be beneficial to
maintain the principles and effectiveness of international nuclear non-proliferation," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman
Qin Gang told PTI. He was asked to comment on the US Congress' overwhelming approval of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal last week.

Qin's comment assumes significance since the official Chinese media had voiced sharp opposition to the deal, saying
it would undermine global non-proliferation efforts.

When asked to comment on the possibility of Sino-Indian cooperation in the nuclear energy sector, Qin said Beijing had
indicated its stance in the Joint Declaration signed during Chinese President Hu Jintao's maiden state visit to India in

'Considering that for both India and China, expansion of civilian nuclear energy programme is an essential and important component of their national energy plans to ensure energy security, the two sides agree to promote cooperation in
the field of nuclear energy, consistent with their respective international commitments', says the joint statement issued on
November 21.

At the same time, Qin emphasised that every country had to adhere to its international commitments while engaging in
bilateral or multilateral cooperation in the nuclear field.

"In the civil nuclear field, China insist that, whether it is a bilateral or multilateral cooperation, all parties should abide by thier own international undertaking and commitment and act accordingly to maintain the effectiveness of the non-proliferation principles," he added.

The Chinese turn-around came two days after the official Xinhua news agency commented that United States had
contradicted its obligations under NPT.

"The bill set a precedent for India, which is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The US Atomic Energy Act prohibits nuclear sales to non-NPT signatories," Xinhua had said soon after the US Congress approved the deal.

"The legislation is also in contradiction to the obligations of Washington as a lead signatory of the NPT. The treaty obligates its signatories not to provide assistance to the nuclear programmes of states that did not sign the NPT,"
it said.

An earlier Xinhua commentary had also said the Indo-US nuclear deal smacked of 'double-standards'.

"These double standards would inevitably diminish the NPT's authority among countries that have not acquired nuclear
weapons," it had said.

India needs Chinese support at the Nuclear Suppliers Group as the 45-member body has to unanimously approve  Indo-US nuclear deal.

© Copyright 2006 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: China backs Indo-US N-deal?

There's a reason why China's backing the deal - they can now openly start selling N-stuff to Pak, their #1 South Asian ally, without negative ...

Posted by labrea



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