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Sino-Pak nuclear cooperation will need NSG approval, says US

By Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
November 21, 2008 19:23 IST
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The US has asked China to halt its plan to construct two more nuclear reactors in Pakistan and indicated that any new Sino-Pak cooperation in the atomic field would require "consensus" approval from the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, a "difficult" task to achieve.
                                  'China will never forsake Pak'

"Although Pakistan's energy needs are real and increasing, we believe Pakistan's proliferation record would make NSG consensus difficult were China to request an exception," State Department assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Matthew Reynolds said in a letter to Democrat Congressman from Massachusetts, Edward J Markey.
Reynolds said Washington has already communicated its "position clearly" to Islamabad and Beijing that the proposed
cooperation between the two countries to construct two more nuclear reactors in Pakistan should not move forward.
"We have communicated our position clearly to our Chinese and Pakistani interlocutors at multiple levels in Washington, Beijing, and Islamabad, and have made plain our view that proposed cooperation on Chasma III and IV should not
move forward."

                                                       Why I remain wary of China

The US position is that cooperation on the construction of two new reactors, Chasma III and IV, would be inconsistent with the commitments China made at the time of its adherence to Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines in 2004.
"We also have been in contact with other NSG members, a number of whom have expressed similar concern at the recent reports," the State Department said in the letter, which was made public on Friday.
Reynolds also said that the US has sought and continue to seek clarification from Islamabad and Beijing on this matter.

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Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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