WASHINGTON (TIP): China’s move to build nuclear power plants in Pakistan is not consistent with the rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the United States has raised this issue in its bilateral meetings with the communist nation, a top Obama Administration official has said.
“When China became a member of the NSG, there was a consensus from other members to grandfather construction of plants in Pakistan which China had initiated. However, there was not agreement that that was an open-ended clause,” Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation Thomas Countryman said.
“The problem is that China has since announced other power plants that it intends to build in Pakistan, and this is not consistent with the rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which it joined. We raised this issue both as a bilateral issue and within the context of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” he said in response to a question from Senator Bob Corker who noted that they (China) are not honoring the NSG guidelines.
“What measures have been built into the agreement to prevent China from exploiting nuclear technology to countries that are proliferation rich? Because China says it will abide by the nuclear suppliers group’s rules for exports but it’s already violating these rules through its continuing work on Pakistani reactors,” Senator Robert Menendez asked.
“The agreement prohibits the transfer of any US-provided technology to another country without US consent,” Countryman answered.
“But it is already violating these rules through its continuing work on Pakistani reactors,” the Senator asked.
“There’s I think a difference between violating NSG rules and, of course, the Chinese would say their action is a matter of interpretation rather than violation.
“There’s a difference between that and violating a 123 agreement, particularly when this agreement, unlike the agreement it replaces, has a specific clause that calls for temporary suspension or permanent suspension in case of violation,” Countryman said during the Congressional hearing on civil nuclear agreement with China.
The agreement, he argued, will have benefits for the US- China bilateral relationship, for nuclear safety in the US and worldwide, for our economy, and for the climate.
In his testimony, Countryman said the US relationship with China is one of the most important and complex relationships it has in the world.
“Over the last six years, the Obama Administration has established a ‘new normal’ of US engagement with the Asia-Pacific that includes relations with China defined by building high quality cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues while constructively managing our differences and areas of competition,” he said.