Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
China Brushes Off Fears Over Reactor Sales to Pakistan
China rejected calls by Western governments last week to alleviate fears and supply further details regarding its intention to construct two new reactors at Pakistan's Chashma atomic energy complex, a pair of international relations insiders told Reuters on Wednesday (see GSN, Feb. 14).
"A number of countries asked questions and expressed concerns" during a meeting of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group in Seattle last Thursday and Friday, according to a government source (see GSN, June 25). The insider and a second informed individual said China had not signaled it was rethinking its policy on the Chashma project; Beijing adopted the same line at a 2011 NSG gathering in the Netherlands.
Nations including the United States have called on China, which has already completed two reactors at Chashma, to obtain permission from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to carry out further atomic plant construction in Pakistan. Arrangements for China to complete a third and fourth unit at the site predate the nation's NSG membership, Beijing has contended.
India and the United States are among the countries to have voiced reservations over Chinese-Pakistani nuclear ties, noting Pakistan's record of distributing atomic-armament systems as well as its relationship with the global nonproliferation regime. Islamabad and its regional rival New Delhi each possess atomic arms outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The insiders said the Chinese reactor project was the subject of collective remarks issued at last week's NSG meeting by European Union nations in the export organization. One added Washington had "posed a question" at the gathering.
"China basically reiterated that it comes under the grandfather clause," an insider stated.
The 46-nation export control organization generally calls for member nations to limit their atomic dealings with non-nuclear weapons states to those under International Atomic Energy Agency supervision. Such scrutiny is intended to detect any diversion of civilian nuclear assets for military use.
India's possible accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group was another area of focus at the Seattle gathering, according to the insiders (see GSN, April 20).
The organization in 2008 granted a special exception enabling members to engage in civilian atomic trade with India. The nation's bid to join the group won Washington's endorsement in 2010, but its possible entry has prompted Pakistani statements of protest.
"If India were to apply now, there would be quite a detailed discussion on nonproliferation-related issues before a decision is taken," an insider said, hinting at possible disagreements within the organization.
The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration made no reference to the Chashma plant controversy in a Friday press release on last week's gathering, but the agency verified the group had addressed its ties with India (Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, June 27).
Nov. 27, 2012
Several U.S. bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements are set to expire in the next four years, and a long list of nuclear newcomers are interested in concluding new agreements with the United States. Jessica C. Varnum examines the debate over whether stricter nonproliferation preconditions for concluding these new and renewal "123" nuclear cooperation agreements with the United States would enhance or undermine their value as instruments of U.S. nonproliferation policy.
June 14, 2012
An article by Sidney Drell, George Shultz and Steve Andreasen published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science.
This article provides an overview of China’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.