- Apr 26, 2010
US unlikely to block Chinese N-exports to Pakistan
By Anwar Iqbal
Thursday, 29 Apr, 2010
A nuclear deal the US signed with India was one of the main reasons that prevented Washington from openly criticising the Chinese export to Islamabad, the report observed. — Photo by APP
WASHINGTON: US-India nuclear deal prevents the Obama administration from blocking a possible export of two Chinese nuclear power reactors to Pakistan, says a US think-tank.
"China is poised to export two power reactors to Pakistan," said a report released by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
"The pending Sino-Pakistan deal reflects the growing confidence and assertiveness of China's nuclear energy programme."
A nuclear deal the US signed with India was one of the main reasons that prevented Washington from openly criticising the Chinese export to Islamabad, the report observed.
The US administration, however, might object to it inside the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which oversees such transactions. Such objections, however, "cannot prevent China from exporting the reactors", the report added.
"President Barack Obama will not openly criticise the Chinese export because Washington, in the context of a bilateral security dialogue with Islamabad, may be sensitive to Pakistan's desire for civilian nuclear cooperation in the wake of the sweeping US-India nuclear deal," said the report while explaining the first reason for a muted US reaction.
It recalled that the US-India deal entered into force in 2008 after considerable arm-twisting of NSG states by the United States, France and Russia.
"The breach created by the US-India deal, which would be opened wider by Chinese export of reactors to Pakistan, will not be easily closed because, as stated by paragraph 16 of the (NSG) guidelines, unanimous consent is required for any changes in the guidelines," the report warned.
"The United States may also tolerate China's new nuclear deal with Pakistan because Obama wants China's support for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran this spring," the report noted.
Author Mark Hibbs said in the report that Beijing might justify the deal with Islamabad on the grounds of nuclear stability in South Asia and the need for parity between New Delhi and Islamabad.
"China is likely to soon inform the NSG of its planned transaction."
Because of China's growing influence in Pakistan, some NSG countries suggested that the United States would also enlist China to persuade Pakistan to drop its opposition to negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. Pakistan has said it could not accept the treaty because the US-India deal had tilted the nuclear balance in South Asia in India's favour.