Double standards in nuke cooperation

By Fu Xiaoqiang (China Daily)

The civil nuclear cooperation agreement between Pakistan and Chinese companies has attracted wide attention, with some countries even questioning the legality of the deal.

The pact is however a routine development and is a sign of pragmatic cooperation that will in fact be closely supervised by the concerned international authorities.

The strategic cooperative endeavor is not intended at targeting any third party. China has been an important source of assistance to Pakistan in several fields and this cooperation is the result of comprehensive bilateral strategic relations based on mutual trust.

Energy shortage has restricted economic development in Pakistan. Building nuclear power stations is an important solution to this problem.
The first and second stage of construction of the Chashma Nuclear Power Station has already been completed due to this bilateral cooperation initiative.

Civil nuclear cooperation is the fruit of deepening bilateral ties and is not only a win-win choice for both nations but also contributes to the stability and prosperity of South Asia.

Chinese companies’ involvement in civil nuclear projects is a routine economic activity. The overall installed capacity of civil nuclear power in Pakistan will increase several-fold in the next decade, turning Pakistan into an important market for international nuclear power service suppliers.

In this context, China National Nuclear Corporation’s (CNNC) construction of two new nuclear reactors for Pakistan, which is being closely supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), should be deemed normal entrepreneurial behavior that does not breach China’s promise of nuclear non-proliferation as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

In fact, the US has already started talks with Pakistan about civil nuclear cooperation. Due to domestic political compulsions, the nuclear tycoons of the West cannot compete in Pakistan’s nuclear reactors market. This should not, however, be made into an excuse to stop other nations’ companies from initiating routine nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.

It is illogical to approach the civil nuclear cooperation agreement between China and Pakistan using double standards. To some extent, similar cooperation – between the US and India – has provided China and Pakistan with a practical model.

After signing a nuclear cooperation agreement with the US in 2006, India became free to accept civil nuclear fuel and core technologies from the US – as long as it separated its civil nuclear facilities from military ones – even though the country hadn’t signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

The IAEA council agreed to provide supervision guarantees to India after the US and India lobbied widely for the same in 2008. Forty-five members of the NSG reached agreement to lift restrictions on nuclear export to India later in the same year, after which the India-US cooperation entered a crucial stage. The US has reportedly sold nuclear material to India ever since, while Russia is helping India build more than 10 reactors.

Since it initiated large-scale nuclear cooperation with the US and Russia, it is groundless for India to complain about similar cooperation – on a much smaller scale – between Pakistan and China. It is India and the US that has opened the so-called nuclear Pandora’s box.

Their cooperation has, in some degree, removed obstacles for the Sino-Pakistan pact. Anybody nodding to the US and India has no reason to dissent to China and Pakistan now. The international community should abandon its ideological prejudice towards China and Pakistan.

Some Westerners think the civil nuclear cooperation between India and the US will certainly help improve the lives of ordinary Indian citizens simply because of their shared identity as free democratic countries.

In contrast, the deal between China and Pakistan, so-called non-democracies, must be evil and threatening, they aver. These double standards are a typical legacy of the Cold War era power politics. Any conclusion drawn from such a mentality deserves second thought. Read more of this post

Hampering Pak-China nuclear deal

Dr Raja Muhammad Khan

In the wake of ongoing misperceptions, China has clarified that it will provide nuclear reactors to Pakistan under the years old nuclear deal. As clarified by Qin Gang, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, that the, “the nuclear cooperation between the two countries was for peaceful purposes and are “totally consistent” with its international obligations and safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency”. Under the deal, “China will export two nuclear power reactors to Pakistan in a USD 2.375-billion agreement.

New Delhi and Washington objects that this deal will breach the international protocol, regarding the trade of nuclear equipment and material. U.S also object that this deal will overstep “the guidelines of the 46-country Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which bars nuclear commerce between Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members like China and non-member states like Pakistan”. Indeed, Pak-China Nuclear Deal was concluded in 1986, when China was neither the member of NSG nor it had signed the NPT. China signed the NPT in 1992 and became the member of NSG in 2004. By 2004, almost ¾th progresses had already been made on the deal between Pakistan and China. Therefore, neither of the two is applicable in case of this deal. Furthermore, the ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal-2005’ later finalized in 2008, provides the precedence, and actually has opened the door for any such like deal in the future. Indeed, after setting precedence by itself, U.S has no legal and moral grounds to object the Pak-China Nuclear Deal.

United States otherwise cannot afford to object this deal, as it has lot of stakes attached to China or Pakistan. Chinese consent is essential for imposing the enhanced sanctions on Iran, currently underway. The issue of North Korean nuclearization and security threats it is posing to other regional countries like South Korea cannot be resolved without the assistance from the China. On the economic fronts, US stakes are quite high. Economists’ view that the falling US economy has been sustained by China largely, as US is biggest trade partner of China at the global level. As regards Pakistan, United States cannot stay a day in Afghanistan without the active support of Pakistan. It is otherwise loosing the Afghan war and need Pakistani assistance more than earlier. Otherwise, on the issue of Indo-US Nuclear Deal, China did not oppose as a member of NSG. Now, once China is providing only a friction of that to Pakistan, why should US obstruct it?

Pakistani Foreign Office has rejected the Indo-US concerns over the Pak-China civil nuclear deal. The spokesperson said that, “Pakistan-China civil nuclear cooperation is going on for years. Our cooperation is under the relevant IAEA safeguards. Therefore concerns, if any, are misplaced”. While tracing the history of Pak-China Civil Nuclear, it is pertinent to note that, a Comprehensive Nuclear cooperation Agreement between Pakistan and then Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan and his Chinese counterpart in the presence of Chinese Premier and PAEC chairperson Dr. Munir A. Khan signed China on September 15, 1986 at Beijing. The salient clauses of the agreement include that, China would construct; four nuclear plants in Pakistan namely; Chasma 1, 2, 3 and 4 by 2011.

Regarding the mandate of and origin of NSG, it was created after the nuclear test of India in 1974, once India diverted the fuel meant for the atom for peace to its weapon programme. If India, the primary proliferators, could be given such a concession by the NSG, why Pakistan be deprived from it. Indeed, India got this by US to counter the China. About its legality of NSG, it was created in 1975 to regulate and standardize the nuclear trade, in reaction to Indian misuse of nuclear material. Its creation was not through an international treaty, but is an international cartel of nuclear technology suppliers.

US officials consider that countries that have not signed the NPT so far cannot be granted the facility. The super power is perhaps overlooking the aspects that India is also a non-signatory to NPT. US also consider that, “Additional nuclear cooperation with Pakistan beyond those specific projects that were grandfathered in 2004 would require consensus approval” However, Pakistan and China rejects these, since it is like, “the pot calling the kettle black”. Indeed, “US had not only violated the NPT, but had also violated the Hyde Act 2006, (by finalising a similar deal with India regarding cooperation on nuclear energy for peaceful purposes).” Since the Pak-China deal would be under the IAEA safeguards, therefore, there would be no legal hurdle in its finalization. In the mean time the Chinese Foreign Ministry has clarified that the deal is in accordance with the international law, therefore, rejects the Indian and American objections. Read more of this post

Testing moments for the NSG!

Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie shakes hand with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani prior to their meeting in Islamabad.

By Air Cdre Khalid Iqbal (R)

In keeping with its discriminatory policy of selective application of Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States has decided to object to a Sino-Pak civilian nuclear arrangement for setting up two atomic power plants in Pakistan. America is expected to make certain obstructive observations during the meeting of ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’ (NSG). NSG is an international cartel of nuclear technology suppliers and was not created by an international treaty. Regulations of NSG are nonbinding. China joined the cartel voluntarily. It is interesting to recall that the NSG was created in 1975 to standardize nuclear trade rules as a reaction to India’s testing of a nuclear explosive device. The objective of creating the NSG was to prevent access of nuclear material and know-how to the countries which are non-signatories to the NPT.

Ironically the same NSG was pressurized by America, Russia and France to make country specific exemption to kick start US-India nuclear deal (Agreement 123) in 2008. IAEA also buckled under pressure to make country specific exception to enable India’s access to nuclear material and know how. India continues to be a non-signatory of NPT. Now the NSG is under the international focus because global nuclear trade regime is at its defining moments. Under duress the group exempted India from a long standing NSG requirement that non nuclear weapon states benefiting from nuclear trade must put all their nuclear activities under the safeguards and supervision of the IAEA, ensuring that they are for peaceful uses. In the aftermath of the US–India deal the NSG will have to perform a delicate balancing act to find the least unsatisfactory solution to China’s challenge. In the view of some NSG states, an agreement permitting China to regularise the exports under the 2004 nuclear cooperation agreement with Pakistan would be the least damaging outcome.

Nevertheless, in a typical twist of hypocrisy, an erratic perception is being generated that the Pak-China arrangement appears to be violating international guidelines forbidding nuclear exports to the countries that have not signed the NPT or do not have international safeguards on reactors. Contrasting it with Agreement 123 reveals that whereas Pak-China arrangement is purely for power generation under comprehensive IAEA safeguards, Agreement 123 exempts 8 nuclear reactors from IAEA safeguards allowing sufficient fissile material to make around 280 warheads per year. This is in addition to India’s ongoing programme of 13 fast breeder reactors. As such it is a misnomer to calls Agreement 123 as ‘US-India Civil Nuclear Deal’. It is indeed US-Indian collusion toward nuclear weapons proliferation programme.

As a follow on to Agreement 123, America and India have recently signed a nuclear fuel reprocessing agreement to further augment their dubious bilateral nuclear deal that would open the venues for India to recycle American spent nuclear fuel. This would facilitate participation by US firms in India’s rapidly expanding civil nuclear energy sector. As a part of ‘United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act of 2008’, India is required to establish a ‘Civil Nuclear Liability Regime’ to limit compensation by American nuclear companies operating in India, in case of nuclear accidents. ‘The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010’ has attracted resistance from labour rights and human rights activist individuals and organizations. Scars of Bhopal accident are too fresh in the memory of Indian public to support this controversial legislation.

‘China National Nuclear Corporation’ is contemplating to set up two new power plants at Chashma, the sale is a leftover of an agreement that China had entered into, before its joining of the NSG in 2004. At that time China was completing work on two reactors for Pakistan. That agreement carried a provision of commissioning of two additional reactors. As Pak-China nuclear agreement is expected to come up before the NSG, the US has communicated to China that it expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese nonproliferation obligations. Western and Indian media has gone into top gear to create a perception that this bilateral cooperation would breach international protocol about the trade of nuclear equipment and material. Read more of this post

Despite US Concerns China To Move Ahead On Pak Nuke Deal

China strongly defends Pakistan, likely to formally announce Pak-China Nuclear Deal in Nuclear Suppliers Group meet.

“We do not need an exemption from the NSG, as requested by the US, since the deal was reached before we (China) joined the group” Fan Jishe, a scholar of US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said. Jishe further added that the nature of the Sino-Pakistani deal is different from that of the US-India deal (ToI).

Beijing, June 23 (ANI): Despite the US voicing serious concerns over China’s offer to help Pakistan set up two nuclear reactors, Beijing is likely go ahead and finance the nuclear project.

Beijing is likely to formally announce its plans to build two 650 megawatts nuclear reactors in Punjab’s Chasma region during the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in New Zealand on June 24 (Thursday) amidst heavy lobbying from India against the project.

According to Chinese experts, one of the main concerns for the international community is that Bejing, like New Delhi, has not inked the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and technically it is not restricted to transfer nuclear technology to any other country. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: