US, China on collision course over helping Pak build nuke reactors

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Washington, June 21 (ANI): The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in New Zealand starting today (Monday) is likely to witness the US and China locking horns over the later's decision to help Pakistan set up two nuclear power plants.

The US has already voiced its concerns over Beijing's decision to provide technical and logistic support to Islamabad over the planned 650-megawatt reactors in Punjab's Chasma region, and is likely to try and forge a consensus on updating the rules designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

The Obama administration fears that Pakistan, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) yet, would divert some technology to its nuclear weapons programme or to another country, especially when the country has a history of nuclear proliferation.

It is pertinent to mention here that in 2004, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is considered as the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme had confessed to selling nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

However, China and Pakistan maintain that the US had itself sealed a similar deal to sell nuclear fuel and technology to India in 2006 even though New Delhi had not signed the NPT, The Times reports.

Experts also believe that it would difficult for the White House to forge a consensus against China's deal with Pakistan, mainly because of its civil nuclear deal with India.

"Because Washington pressed the NSG and China to exempt India from NSG trade sanctions, it is now more difficult to complain about China's desire to export reactors to Pakistan," Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said. (ANI)

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