US keeping close watch on China's offer to build nuke power plants in Pak

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Washington, May 11 (ANI): Stressing that countries must respect their individual non-proliferation commitments, the United States has said that it is closely observing China's offer to build two nuclear power plants in Pakistan.

Speaking during a forum at the Brookings Institution, US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said Washington is concerned about proliferation issues and is studying China's offer to assist Pakistan with nuclear reactors, adding that Washington has not taken any final decision in this regard.

"The United States has not reached a final conclusion. But it's something we're obviously looking at very carefully," The News quoted Steinberg, as saying.

"I think it's important to scrupulously honour these non-proliferation commitments. We'll want to continue to engage on the question, about whether this is permitted under the understandings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he said in reply to a question.

China had earlier built two reactors for Pakistan. But in 2004 Beijing entered the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an association of nuclear energy states that forbids exports to nations lacking strict safeguards set up by the IAEA.

China began building a nuclear reactor in Chashma in Pakistan's Punjab province in 1991 and work on a second reactor began in 2005, which is expected to be completed next year. Under the new agreement, Chinese companies will build at least two new 650-MW reactors at Chashma, a media report had said last month. (ANI)

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