China will likely go ahead with financing the construction of two power reactors in Pakistan despite concerns from certain quarters, say Chinese experts.A plan to this effect will be announced to build the reactors at a Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting to be held in New Zealand on Thursday, said an article published here Wednesday.This is first Pakiatan-China meeting in field of nuclear energy.
Zhai according to a report published in China Daily, said the US will not pressure China too much as it previously struck a deal with India. In 2008, the NSG – which represents the 46 countries that control the world’s atomic trade – made an exemption allowing Washington to sell civil nuclear technology to New Delhi.
Pakistan has stressed many times it wants the same recognition as India on civil nuclear usage.
“Pakistan is also fighting a war on terror for the US as well as for itself, and the country’s loss is greater than the US and the other 42 coalition nations combined. The economic aid it has received is too little compared to its loss. Pakistan has an urgent need for more civil energy and that need should be looked after,” said Zhai.
The US asked China to clarify the details of the deal last Wednesday, after intense urging from India, but stopped short of publicly opposing it. On Thursday China said the reactors are for peaceful purposes, and will accept the IAEA’s inspection. China joined the NSG in 2004 but has already built one reactor and started a second at Chashma, Punjab. The latest two reactors in the region will generate 650 megawatts each.
Although the deal is not likely to attract strong opposition, NSG members still do not want to see the transaction go forward, according to Mark Hibbs, nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Policy in Washington. However, Hibbs said the US -India deal set a precedent.
“There was no real agreement between the members about how to proceed,” the Australian Radio quoted him as saying.
Fan Jishe, a scholar of US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, argues that the nature of the Sino-Pakistani deal is different from that of the US-India deal.
“We do not need an exemption from the NSG, as requested by the US, since the deal was reached before we joined the group,” Fan said.
Asserting that it’s nuclear program guarantees regional stability and meets strict safety standards, Pakistan has called for its inclusion into the group of international nuclear states.The international community should recognize certain facts about Pakistan’s nuclear program. It is based on minimum deterrence and self-defense. It has come of age and is here to stay.Islamabad’s nuclear program was “initiated and developed in response to regional asymmetry in both conventional and nuclear arms and it is now a source of regional stability,” Press Minister, Imran Gardezi at the Pakistani embassy noted.
In a rejoinder to Graham Allison’s “hypothetical conjecture” in an article fueling concerns about Pakistani nuclear weapons, the official pointed out that international regulatory authorities have already acknowledged the efficacy of Pakistan’s comprehensive command and control strucuture.
These steps, he said, have made the country’s nuclear assets “impervious to any threat, internal or external.”
Over the past decade, the Pakistani government has instituted many advanced security mechanisms from tightend physical safety to technical controls of the nuclear weapons themselves, Gardezi added.
The press minister also cited the introduction of a “multilayered foolproof system of internal monitoring,” in the wake of activities of A Q Khan network.
With regard to concerns aired on the possibility of the weapons falling into hands of militants hiding in its northwestern regions, the Press Minister said “even the most cursory knowledge of how nuclear states maintain their arsenals would make alarmists understand that extremists could not possibly come to possess a nuclear weapon nor could non-state actors acquire such a device or the requisite delivery system.”
Moreover, he reminded, the Pakistani army has recently carried out successful operations in Malakand, the Swat valley and Wazirstan, putting the most feared extremists on the run and destroying their safe havens.
“Pakistan stands committed to non-proliferation and disarmament and has taken effecitve measures to meet its international obligations.”
The government’s wide-ranging regulatory instruments prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to any state, Gardezi wrote.
In addition, Pakistan continues to cooperate voluntarily with the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding its civil nuclear program, he stated.
Associated Press of Pakistan