In its first response to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver for India, China on Monday hoped the decision will contribute to "peaceful use of nuclear energy" and international cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation.
"China believes that all countries are entitled to make peaceful use of nuclear energy, and conduct international cooperation in this regard. Meanwhile, relevant cooperation should be conducive to safeguarding the integrity and efficacy of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in response to a question on the NSG waiver for India.
The Chinese embassy in New Delhi issued a statement containing the remarks of the spokesperson hours before China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi.
Sections of the Indian establishment have been miffed over China's role at the three-day NSG meeting that ended Saturday in Vienna.
China had all along assured the Indian leadership that it will not block the waiver at the NSG. But during hectic parleys and at a critical juncture when the US was trying its best to reach a consensus among the 45 members of the NSG, China made serious attempts to put off a final decision until later.
It was only after senior members of the Bush administration made phone calls and India issued a demarche to China that it agreed to go for an extended meeting and finally rallied behind others in the NSG to reach a consensus on the waiver.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said: "China has been taking part in relevant meetings within the Nuclear Suppliers Group in a responsible and constructive manner."
The spokesperson added, "On September 6, NSG discussed civilian nuclear cooperation with India and issued a statement on the basis of negotiated consensus, deciding to lift nuclear trade ban on the country. China hopes that the decision will contribute to peaceful use of nuclear energy and international cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation."
The issue of China's stand at the NSG was likely to be raised during discussions that Yang will have with the Indian leadership. Apart from his meeting with Mukherjee, Yang will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Mukherjee will host a cultural programme followed by a dinner for his Chinese guest on Monday evening.