China slaps Obama up side head on nonproliferation

May 13, 2010 07:20

China’s decision to sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan, which has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is posing a challenge to the Obama administration’s commitment to curb the spread of nuclear technology.

By Ashish Kumar Sen at Washington Times

Analysts see in the administration’s muted response a reluctance to press China at the risk of losing its support for sanctions on Iran and a hesitation to upset a delicate relationship with Pakistan, which the U.S. views as a key ally in the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

According to China National Nuclear Corp., the governments of China and Pakistan in February signed an agreement to finance construction of two reactors in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) prohibit the sale of sensitive nuclear technology and materials to nations that have not joined the NPT and do not allow international monitoring of their nuclear activities.

Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said the sale of Chinese reactors to Pakistan would undermine the NSG.

“It would be a shame if this administration, which prides itself on reducing nuclear threats, should itself wink at China trading in sensitive nuclear technology to Pakistan outside of the nuclear rules,” he said.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the China-Pakistan agreement is “deeply troubling because we have China engaging in civil nuclear trade with a country that does not meet the requirements of the NSG for such trade.”


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