China to cooperate with India in use of civil nuclear energy: Menon

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By Mrityunjay Singh

Toyako (Japan), July 8 : India's Foreign Secretary, shiv Shankar Menon, today said that China is to cooperate with India in civil use of nuclear energy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit in Hokkaido in northern Japan, Menon said that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese President Hu Zintao at Toyako, and discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest to both countries.

He said that senior officials of both countries assisted their respective heads of government during the deliberations.

Menon said that he was confident about the nuke deal reaching fruition after the Indian delegation's meetings with various Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) members attending the G-8 Summit.

"We have no reason to believe from what we have been told so far that it should be particularly difficult process. We have also been told that it'll be relatively a quick process. But as I said this is not for us to say, this is really for the NSG itself to determine and to indicate to you. The NSG member we have spoken to so far have been supportive and certainly the numbers those who have told us that they don't anticipate problems have certainly increased steadily since we started discussing this issue," said Menon.

The pact would be one of Singh's most important achievements in four years of office, giving India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and technology and moving the Asian giant's trade and diplomatic relations closer to the West.

Meanwhile Leaders of Brazil, Mexico, China, India and South Africa met in a Sapporo hotel on Tuesday ahead of their meeting with the Group of Eight (G-8) leaders on Wednesday.

The five, also called the Group of Five, discussed issues from soaring food and fuel prices to African poverty and global warming.

South African Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk rejected a G-8 statement on climate change earlier on Tuesday (July 8) that set a 'vision' but no firm targets to achieve big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Van Schalkwyk said a long-term goal "must be underpinned by ambitious mid-term targets and action," adding that the goals should be "based on an equitable burden-sharing paradigm".

The G-8 leaders agreed on a communique on Tuesday, which said they would work with nearly 200 states in the United Nations climate change talks to adopt a goal of at least halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The communique also said mid-term goals would be needed to achieve the mission.

The European Union and Japan have been pressing for a G8 statement that goes beyond a summit pledge made last year to "seriously consider" a goal of halving global carbon emissions by mid-century and refers to the need for interim targets as well.

Senior officials from the G8 nations met late into the previous night to thrash out wording that would allow President George W. Bush to put aside deep misgivings and signed a global goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century.

Bush is under strong pressure from Japan and Europe but says he will not back a numerical target unless big polluters, including China and India agree to binding commitments to curb their carbon pollution.

On Wednesday, the G-8 leaders will meet with leaders from eight other big greenhouse gas-emitting countries, like South Korea, Australia, India and China for the Major Economies Meeting (MEM).

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