China assured its close ally Pakistan on Thursday it will adopt a “criteria-based approach” for membership of the NSG that will support Islamabad’s candidature, Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed the assurance during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tashkent.
Hussain thanked Xi for China’s unequivocal support for Pakistan’s bid to gain entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and suggested that Pakistan and India should be included in the elite club at the same time.
“The meeting discussed issues of bilateral interest, including cooperation in economic and defence sectors, with specific focus on Pakistan’s inclusion in the NSG,” Chaudhry was quoted as saying by state-run APP news agency.
Xi assured Hussain that “China would adopt criteria-based approach on the issue of NSG, which would support Pakistan’s case”, he said. Hussain also said China’s stance is based on a “policy of non- discrimination”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Xi later in the day and sought China’s support for India’s membership.
China has stonewalled India’s efforts to join the NSG, which controls access to sensitive nuclear technology, by insisting that membership should be limited to countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz also attended Hussain meeting with Xi, during which the two presidents said they would maintain close collaboration for the region’s security and prosperity and to jointly fight terrorism and separatism.
“With the notion of Pakistan and China having common friends and foes, the two leaders agreed to work together to fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism,” Chaudhry said.
Hussain said Pakistan regards China’s enemies as its own and had taken action against militants of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Pakistan, he said, will not allow terrorists from ETIM to have safe havens on its soil.
The Pakistani president thanked China for condemning the recent US drone strike that killed Afghan Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour.
The two sides also agreed there would be no compromise in implementing the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The meeting also discussed cooperation in defence production and collaboration in marketing the JF-17 Thunder combat jet.