CHINA IN NUCLEAR DEAL WITH PAKISTAN
China has agreed to build two new civilian nuclear reactors in Pakistan, according to Chinese companies and officials in Islamabad and Beijing, in a deal that could re-ignite debate about nuclear commerce and proliferation.
The decision to supply reactors to Pakistan, which has a nuclear arsenal and a record of exporting its expertise to North Korea, Iran and Libya, reflects China's growing diplomatic confidence.
It also reflects Beijing's ambition to become a global supplier of nuclear energy technology and underscores its view of Pakistan as a prized south Asian strategic partner.
The new deal with Pakistan, which has yet to be announced, poses a dilemma for the US administration of President Barack Obama, which wants Chinese support for sanctions against Iran but does not want to weaken the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Non-proliferation is one of Washington's main foreign policy goals .
China began building a nuclear reactor in Chashma in Pakistan's Punjab province in 1991 and work on a second rector began in 2005 and is expected to be completed next year. Under the new agreement, Chinese companies will build at least two new 650MW reactors at Chashma.
A senior Pakistani government official familiar with the discussions with China said yesterday: “Our Chinese brothers have once again lived up to our expectations.
“They have agreed to continue co-operating with us in the nuclear energy field.”
In a statement on its website, China National Nuclear Corporation said that the Chinese and Pakistan governments had signed an agreement to finance the construction of the two new reactors in February.
Last year, Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute said it had been hired to design the two new reactors.
Diplomats in China said they had been told that Beijing had given its formal approval to the deal, although they cautioned there could still be last-minute hitches in the bilateral agreement.
Mark Hibbs, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said China had decided to go ahead because “for political reasons it felt Pakistan should be compensated in some way for the US-India nuclear deal”.
The deal between Washington and New Delhi facilitated nuclear co-operation even though India has not signed the NPT.
“After the dust settled on the US-India nuclear deal, China gravitated towards a position that it will support nuclear commerce if it benefits Chinese industry,” he added.
卡内基国际和平基金会(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)的马克•海布斯(Mark Hibbs)表示，中国决定推进这宗交易，是因为“出于政治原因，它觉得针对美印核合作协议，巴基斯坦应当以某种方式得到补偿”。
英国《金融时报》杰夫•代尔(Geoff Dyer)北京、法尔汉•博哈里(Farhan Bokhari)伊斯兰堡和詹姆斯•拉蒙特(James Lamont)新德里报道