Zardari seeks Japanese nuclear cooperation

Tokyo, Feb 21 (PTI) President Asif Ali Zardari hasasked Japan to work out with Pakistan a deal on peaceful useof nuclear energy similar to the one it inked with India.

"If Japan is willing to cooperate with India innuclear technology and (is) giving nuclear technology forpeaceful purpose, I do not see any reason why we should notdeserve the same," Zardari told Japanese media ahead of hisvisit to Japan.

Zardari recognized that the nuclear issue is verysensitive for the Japanese people and government, Kyodo newsagency quoted him as saying.

Neither India nor Pakistan are signatories to theNuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the nuclear talksbetween Japan and India have triggered an outcry fromsurvivors of the 1945 US atomic bombings of Hiroshima andNagasaki, who fear such a deal would hamper global efforts torealize a world without nuclear weapons.

Japanese firms, however, are keen to export nuclearpower generation technology and related equipment to India,which plans to build 20 new nuclear power plants by 2020.

Zardari claimed that Pakistan never wanted to gonuclear but it was forced to do so when India exploded anuclear device in 1974 and then again in 1998.

Asked if Pakistan seeks to expand its nuclear arsenal,the president said his government does not want to see an armsrace in the region and advocates a nuclear-free South Asia.

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