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China likely to fulfill Pak's nuke dreams

It's expected to announce its decision at the Nuclear Security Group meeting being held in New Zealand on Thursday.

News18test sharma |

Updated:June 23, 2010, 12:51 PM IST
China likely to fulfill Pak's nuke dreams
It's expected to announce its decision at the Nuclear Security Group meeting being held in New Zealand on Thursday.

Beijing: China is likely to go ahead with its decision to "finance" the construction of two 650 MW nuclear power plants in Pakistan disregarding the concerns raised by India and the United States.

It is expected to announce its decision at the Nuclear Security Group meeting being held in New Zealand on Thursday.

"China will likely go ahead with financing the construction of two nuclear reactors in Pakistan despite concerns from other countries," state-run China Daily on Wednesday quoted Chinese experts as saying.

"China is expected to announce its plans to build the reactors in Pakistan's Punjab province at the 46-member NSG meeting in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the United States, with heavy lobbying from India, is reportedly raising doubts over the legitimacy of the deal," it said in its report.

The report in the official daily is regarded as a sort of an official announcement as Chinese Foreign Ministry so far has declined to say anything directly concerning China's plans to build new reactors in Pakistan. It only said that its cooperation with Islamabad concerning the civil nuclear is for peaceful purposes and being carried under the safeguards and supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA).

The write up in the daily comes after the recently concluded visit of Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during which Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie announced that "China would join hands with Pakistan to bring military relations to a new high".

China's plans to build two nuclear reactors came to light when state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced in April this year that it will export nuclear power reactors to Pakistan in a USD 2.375-billion agreement.

This is in addition to two nuclear reactors built by China at Chashma in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, defended China's plans to build new reactors saying that China has been helping Pakistan with reactors earlier.

"This is not the first time China has helped Pakistan build nuclear reactors, and since it will be watched by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the deal is not going to have any problems," Zhai said, adding the US will not pressure China too much as it previously struck a deal with India.

The US last week asked China to clarify the details of the deal, but stopped short of publicly opposing it, the daily said in its report. In 2008, the NSG - which represents the 46 countries that control the world's atomic trade - made an exemption allowing Washington to sell civil nuclear technology to New Delhi.

Pakistan has stressed many times it wants the same recognition as India on civil nuclear usage, Zhai said. "Pakistan is also fighting a war on terror for the US as well as for itself, and the country's loss is greater than the US and the other 42 coalition nations combined. The economic aid it has received is too little compared to its loss. Pakistan has an urgent need for more civil energy and that need should be looked after," Zhai said. Fan Jishe, a scholar of US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the nature of the Sino-Pakistani deal is different from that of the US-India deal.

"We do not need an exemption from the NSG, as requested by the US, since the deal was reached before we (China) joined the group," Fan said.

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