China going slow on Pak nuclear deal ahead of Zardari visit to Beijing

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by EagleOne, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. EagleOne

    EagleOne Regular Member

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    BEIJING: Hours before Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari was due to arrive in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday appeared reluctant to confirm if an agreement on nuclear reactors between China and Pakistan was in the offing. The foreign ministry discussed plans for agreement in the areas of public health, education and trade but steered clear of discussing the nuclear situation.

    What made the omission significant is Shiv Shankar Menon, National Security Adviser telling journalists this morning that India had raised the issue of China’s proposed sale of nuclear reactors to Pakistan on three different occasions.

    There are signs China would not easily give into Zardari’s request for two nuclear reactors, and would prefer to watch the evolving political situation that includes a marked weakening in the influence of the Pakistani president. Menon’s efforts to persuade Chinese leaders including premier Wen Jiabao and foreign minister Yang Jiechi may also have had some effect, sources said.

    Replying to a question on whether Chinese leaders will sign a nuclear agreement with Zardari, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the two countries will discuss "deepening of bilateral cooperation and traditional friendship" but specific aspects of the dialogue will be released in due course. This is different from the ministry’s earlier statement defending the move by saying that a nuclear deal with Pakistan will be within the ambit of international non-proliferation standards.

    Menon himself tried to downplay India’s objection to the proposed deal. "We don’t enforce China’s international obligations. China does’nt enforce our international obligations. As I said we will wait and see how this develops," he told Indian journalists. "It is still an evolving situation. This took less than two and a half sentences in the whole visit," he said.

    The NSA said India-China relationship is not externally driven indicating that the Pakistan factor does not play a very significant role. "We are two big neighbours who engage with each other, whose relationship has both regional and global significance, who have a lot of business to do with each other," he said.

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  3. EagleOne

    EagleOne Regular Member

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    contradiction

    Beijing: China has made it clear to India that its civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan will be in accordance with international obligations.


    New Delhi will "wait and see" how Beijing presses ahead with its plans to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan's Chashma II plant, visiting National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told the Indian media here wrapping up his four-day China visit.

    "We discussed the issue (of nuclear reactors to Pakistan) with them (Chinese leaders) on two or three occasions. They told us that what they are doing will be in accordance with their international obligations. We will wait and see where this is going," he said after meetings with the Chinese leadership.

    Asked how international obligations can be enforced, Menon, who was here as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Special Envoy, said "we do not enforce international obligations.

    "We will wait and see how it develops. It is not for us to enforce. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has its own guidelines. They told us what they are doing. It is still an evolving situation."


    China formally informed NSG recently about its plans to build the nuclear reactors for Pakistan.

    Menon's remarks coincided with the arrival of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari here on a six-day visit with Pakistani diplomats asserting that issues relating to the nuclear power plants were very much on his agenda.

    The National Security Adviser, who held talks with Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and State Councillor Dai Bingguo, however, refuted the perception that his visit here ahead of Zardari's China tour was aimed at discussing issues relating to the Sino-Pak nuclear deal.

    "We will engage with China. We do not time visits depending on who is coming and going. In today's world every power engages with every one else. This is normal," he said.

    "It (the Sino-Pak nuclear deal) took less than two and a half sentences in the whole visit. This is not the whole point of the visit, even though some stories tried to make it. We have a relationship which is not externally driven," Menon said.

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