China is ready for more consultations with India for its inclusion in the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) but it is only through consensus within the group that New Delhi could become its member, a senior Chinese official said on Monday.
“When other countries apply for membership, this group will need to examine the application and it would require the approval or agreement through consensus by all members of the group and then to decide whether the new member will be taken on board,” vice foreign minister Li Baodong said.
“These rules cannot be decided by China alone,” Li added.
China was seen to be instrumental in blocking India’s bid for the membership of NSG in June with Beijing saying that the “…world non-proliferation regime would collapse if non-NPT countries such as India were allowed in the NSG”.
According to the NSG’s rules, a member must be a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) which India is not.
Besides China, South Africa, New Zealand and Austria were among the 48-member NSG bloc that opposed India’s bid.
A question on the Chinese role in India’s NSG bid came up at a press conference addressed by Li on President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to India to participate in the 8th BRICS summit on October 15 and 16 in Goa. Xi will be heading to India after state visits to Cambodia and Bangladesh starting October 13.
India is the chair for this year’s summit.
“China and India have maintained good communication (on the NSG issue),” Li said when asked whether the issue will come up during a meeting between Xi and PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.
“We are ready to continue consultations with India on the consensus and we also hope India can go to other members of the NSG as well. In this respect, we are also ready for discussions with India to explore the possibilities but things need to be in keeping with the procedures and norms and regulations of the NSG,” Li said.
He added: “On this issue, China’s position has been consistent and that is why China has often said in international occasions that international laws must be observed”.
Li said there will be discussions on counter-terrorism but expectedly did not talk about specific issues like Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism or Beijing’s repeated blocking of an UN ban on Masood Azhar, chief of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Earlier in October, for the second time in six months, Beijing blocked New Delhi’s appeal to the UN to label Azhar a terrorist.
Li spoke in broad terms without any concrete answers on the issue.
“On counter-terrorism, it is also an important area of cooperation among BRICS countries on political security. Cooperation on this front will enhance BRICS coordination and contribute to world peace and security,” Li said.
“There should be no double standards on terrorism nor should one pursue its own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism,” he said.
Li added that that China hoped that the BRICS summit will build on the pass consensus on terrorism and strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism.