China supports Indo-US nuclear deal

Chinese PM Wen Jiabao said he had no objection to India cooperating with other countries to develop nuclear power.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 11:41 IST

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Thursday he had no objection to India cooperating with other countries to develop nuclear power, provided nuclear non-proliferation protocols were followed.

Asked about a US-India agreement to share nuclear technology reached earlier this month, Wen said there was no problem provided non-proliferation signatories met their obligations.

"India is a friendly neighbour of China and we do not object to its developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and cooperating with other countries in nuclear power generation," he said in an interview.

"At the same time, we take the position that relevant parties should honour their obligations they have undertaken as parties to the non-proliferation treaty."

While China and the United States have signed the non-proliferation treaty, India and nuclear rival Pakistan have refused.

However, in a major turnaround earlier this month, Washington agreed to give India access to US nuclear technology in exchange for New Delhi separating its civil and military atomic programmes and placing a majority of its reactors under international inspection.

Wen said China had already cooperated with France and Russia on nuclear power development and was holding discussions with the United States about the same issue.

He said nuclear power was an important way to reduce pollution.

"The peaceful use of nuclear energy for power generation is an important means to develop clean energy and reduce pollution, particularly the emission of greenhouse gases," he said.

"This is why many countries are going in for nuclear energy and have entered into cooperation in this field."

China is planning to massively expand its nuclear power capabilities as it seeks to reduce reliance on greenhouse gas-producing fuel supplies.

Wen is expected to sign an agreement to buy Australian uranium during his visit to Canberra next week.

Australia, which has about 40 per cent of the world's known uranium reserves, insists any uranium exports to China be used only for power generation, not for military purposes.

It refuses to sell uranium to India because New Delhi has not signed the non-proliferation treaty.

First Published: Mar 30, 2006 11:22 IST