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US opposes China-Pakistan nuke deal

By The Assam Tribune

WASHINGTON, June 16 (IANS) - The United States has said it would oppose a proposed nuclear deal between China and Pakistan as it requires a specific exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) like the US deal with India.

"This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership" state department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters Tuesday when asked on what grounds it would oppose the deal when it had opened the door to such agreements with the US-India deal.

"We believe that such cooperation would require a specific exemption approved by consensus of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as was done for India. So we're not looking at any difference between the two," he said, adding, the US had "asked China to clarify the details of its sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan.

The US has served notice that it would object to the deal at a meeting next week of the 46 nation group that regulates nuclear trade and its rules forbid sales of nuclear technology to such countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The NSG had made an exception in the case of India's deal with the United States and other countries with the US pushing hard for it on the basis of New Delhi's impeccable non-proliferation record. But Pakistan is unlikely to get the international support that India got because of Islamabad's dubious record of nuclear proliferation.

China has maintained that its agreement with Pakistan to supply two additional nuclear reactors pre-dates its joining the NSG in 2004 and therefore does not need its approval.

Asked if China had informed the US about the sale of two nuclear reactors to Pakistan, Crowley said: "This was an issue that we've had periodic discussions with China for some time."

The US media had Tuesday cited an unnamed US official as saying, "Additional nuclear cooperation with Pakistan beyond those specific projects that were grandfathered in 2004 would require consensus approval" by the NSG. Such an approval is "extremely unlikely," he addded.

Washington's clarification about the China-Pak nuke deal comes in the wake of concerns that the Obama administration would acquiesce to it to get Beijing's cooperation on issues like the Iranian and North Korean nuclear threats and currency revaluation.

But experts warned as early as May this year that "there is no real reason to think that the Administration's silence on the deal will bring more Chinese cooperation on other issues."

"Given the widespread proliferation that resulted from the Pakistan-based AQ Khan network - as well as continued concerns about the existence of terrorist networks in Pakistan that seek access to nuclear weapons technology - a nod from Washington to further Chinese-Pakistani nuclear cooperation is shortsighted," cautioned Lisa Curtis and Nicholas Hamisevicz of the Heritage Foundation.

"The argument that the China-Pakistan nuclear reactor deal should be seen in the same light as the US-India civil nuclear deal discounts the vastly different proliferation records of Pakistan and India, the different oversight requirements generally imposed by the US compared to China, and the prevalence of Pakistan-based terrorist groups seeking nuclear weapons technology," they added.

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US opposes China-Pakistan nuke deal

WASHINGTON, June 16 (IANS) - The United States has said it would oppose a proposed nuclear deal between China and Pakistan as it requires a specific exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) like the US deal with India.

"This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership" state department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters Tuesday when asked on what grounds it would oppose the deal when it had opened the door to such agreements with the US-India deal.

"We believe that such cooperation would require a specific exemption approved by consensus of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as was done for India. So we're not looking at any difference between the two," he said, adding, the US had "asked China to clarify the details of its sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan.

The US has served notice that it would object to the deal at a meeting next week of the 46 nation group that regulates nuclear trade and its rules forbid sales of nuclear technology to such countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The NSG had made an exception in the case of India's deal with the United States and other countries with the US pushing hard for it on the basis of New Delhi's impeccable non-proliferation record. But Pakistan is unlikely to get the international support that India got because of Islamabad's dubious record of nuclear proliferation.

China has maintained that its agreement with Pakistan to supply two additional nuclear reactors pre-dates its joining the NSG in 2004 and therefore does not need its approval.

Asked if China had informed the US about the sale of two nuclear reactors to Pakistan, Crowley said: "This was an issue that we've had periodic discussions with China for some time."

The US media had Tuesday cited an unnamed US official as saying, "Additional nuclear cooperation with Pakistan beyond those specific projects that were grandfathered in 2004 would require consensus approval" by the NSG. Such an approval is "extremely unlikely," he addded.

Washington's clarification about the China-Pak nuke deal comes in the wake of concerns that the Obama administration would acquiesce to it to get Beijing's cooperation on issues like the Iranian and North Korean nuclear threats and currency revaluation.

But experts warned as early as May this year that "there is no real reason to think that the Administration's silence on the deal will bring more Chinese cooperation on other issues."

"Given the widespread proliferation that resulted from the Pakistan-based AQ Khan network - as well as continued concerns about the existence of terrorist networks in Pakistan that seek access to nuclear weapons technology - a nod from Washington to further Chinese-Pakistani nuclear cooperation is shortsighted," cautioned Lisa Curtis and Nicholas Hamisevicz of the Heritage Foundation.

"The argument that the China-Pakistan nuclear reactor deal should be seen in the same light as the US-India civil nuclear deal discounts the vastly different proliferation records of Pakistan and India, the different oversight requirements generally imposed by the US compared to China, and the prevalence of Pakistan-based terrorist groups seeking nuclear weapons technology," they added.