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Clinton questions Sino-Pak nuke deal

world Updated: Jul 20, 2010 00:19 IST
Reshma Patil

Even as Hillary Clinton conveyed 'concerns' to Islamabad over China's controversial sale of two new 650 MW civilian nuclear reactors to Pakistan, influential Chinese voices were arguing that the Sino-Pak deal is 'practically modelled' on the India-US civilian nuclear deal.

While US Secretary of State Clinton was telling Islamabad that the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) must approve the deal, a Chinese analyst told the Hindustan Times that the NSG should be abolished. Another analyst admitted to this paper of a 'theoretical possibility' that selling nuclear material to Pakistan may be risky.

"I think we should abolish the NSG," Shen Dingli, executive dean of the Institute of International Relations at Fudan University in Shanghai, told HT, adding that he was expressing personal views. "Every country whether an NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) member or not, is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy and international cooperation for it. It's like a human right."

"India and the US opened the so-called nuclear Pandora's box...removed obstacles for the Sino-Pakistan pact," wrote Fu Xiaoqiang, analyst at the official think-tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in the State-run China Daily on Monday. "Anybody nodding to the US and India has no reason to dissent to China and Pakistan now. The international community should abandon its ideological prejudice towards China and Pakistan.”

Fu, who declined to be interviewed by HT, said the India-US deal provided China and Pakistan with a 'practical model' and it's 'groundless' for India to complain after accepting American and Russian civilian nuclear technology.

The commentary evaded the fact that while India received an NSG exemption by consensus, China is exempting Pakistan unilaterally.

"In Chinese perspective, China has not done more than the India-US civilian nuclear deal," Shi Yinhong, director, Centre on American Studies at Renmin University, told HT.

Shi added that 'India is more stable' compared to Pakistan. "Theoretically speaking, the civilian nuclear deal could increase the potential for possible future proliferation," said Shi.

"The Chinese government will take care in safeguarding that the nuclear material is not proliferated.” China's foreign ministry says the Sino-Pak deal is subject to safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.