ID :
Thu, 08/21/2008 - 09:35
Auther :

China keeps cards close to chest ahead of NSG meeting

Beijing, Aug 20 (PTI) Ahead of the crucial Nuclear Suppliers Group (N.S.G.) meeting to decide on nuclear commerce with India, China Wednesday chose to keep its cards close to its chest but harped on maintaining the "integrity and effectiveness" of the non-proliferation regime while backingthe "peaceful" use of atomic energy.

"China believes all countries, while adhering to their international obligations of nuclear non-proliferation, has the right of peaceful use of nuclear energy and to carry out international cooperation in this regard," Chinese ForeignMinistry spokesman Qin Gang told PTI here.

"Meanwhile, relevant cooperation should be conducive to the integrity and effectiveness of maintaining the international non-proliferation regime," Qin said in reply to a question on China's stand at the meeting of the N.S.G. inVienna beginning Thursday.

China had not opposed the India-specific safeguards agreement at the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) on August 1. Following that, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had sent Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in PM's Office, to Beijing as his envoy to lobby support for the deal at theN.S.G.

Last week, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan had praised China for adopting a 'very correct' position on supporting the Indo-US nuclear deal at the I.A.E.A. and hopedof a similar stance from Beijing at the N.S.G. meeting.

"Pakistan did its damnedest to block us in I.A.E.A. but China took a very correct position," Narayanan had said on the adoption of the India-specific safeguards agreement by the UNatomic watchdog.

Narayanan told the Straits Times of Singapore that New Delhi was hopeful that there will be no trouble from China when India approaches the 45-member N.S.G. on August 21 for awaiver needed for the implementation of the nuclear deal.

Asked about China's stand on the deal, Narayanan said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, at every meeting they have had with Prime Minister Singh, when the issue has been raised they have indicated that Beijing "will not be a problem."