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China terms N-cooperation with Pak 'mutually beneficial'

March 20, 2012 19:36 IST

Ahead of a key global summit on atomic security, China on Tuesday defended its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as "mutually beneficial" and in accordance with international safeguards.

Luo Zhaohui, the director-general of department of asian affairs, told reporters that China-Pak nuclear cooperation was being conducted under the supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency, the global nuclear watchdog body.

"China-Pakistan had several years of nuclear cooperation in building Chashma nuclear power station. This station is subjected to IAEA safeguards. So far it is mutually beneficial and in accordance with international law," he said at a press meet when asked about China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation as well as global anxieties over Pakistan nuclear weapons falling into the hands of militant groups.

China's Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said the Nuclear Security Summit, to be attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao and heads of states of 53 countries and international organisations from March 26-27 in Seoul, would focus on strengthening the security of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities.

The summit will conduct full review of the progress made by the international community on the nuclear security since the first summit held in Washington in 2010, he told a media briefing.

China has built about two nuclear reactors at Chashma and constructing two more. China also has announced plans to build one 1,000 mw nuclear unit at the same place. Luo said the China-Pak nuclear cooperation is ongoing.

"After the Fukushima disaster, we have given greater attention to nuclear safety. We have had some consultations (with Pakistan) and had some technical work (done). We have full confidence in nuclear technologies," he said.

China's Assistant Foreign Minister Ma said nuclear security and threat of nuclear terrorism received wide attention by the international community in recent years.

Extensive use of nuclear energy, the threat to diver nuclear materials and proliferation of nuclear weapons is rising, he said.

According to IAEA, about 2,100 incidents of losses, threats and illegal acquiring of nuclear and other radioactive materials were reported from 1993 to 2011, he said.

Luckily, there has not been any major nuclear terrorist incident, he said, adding that threat of terrorist groups or international criminal organisations acquiring them and using them to make nuclear devices does exist.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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