China-US hold 'consultations' after Beijing's N-deal with Pak

China-US hold 'consultations' after Beijing's N-deal with Pak

China-US hold 'consultations' after Beijing's N-deal with Pak

Robert Blake, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, is currently visiting China for "consultations on South Asian region", said Jiang Yu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, declining to go into details of the "consultations" on the Indian sub-continent.

Blake’s talks with the Chinese leaders was part of the preparatory meetings for a crucial bilateral strategic dialogue to be held here on May 23 to be attended by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

China's commitment to build two nuclear power plants for Pakistan was announced by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). In a brief statement on its website recently, CNNC said it had reached an agreement "with the aim of developing an overseas nuclear power electricity market".

Last week, Jiang tacitly acknowledged China's commitment to build two 650 mw nuclear power plants for Pakistan, saying that the two countries have been cooperating in the field of nuclear energy.

"This cooperation respects international obligations, for peaceful purposes and accepts International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) regulations and supervision," she had said.

The Sino-US strategic dialogue was expected to cover all aspects of South Asian region, including the India-Pakistan relations.

China has already built two reactors with capacity of about 350 MW at Chashma in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Under the new agreement, Chinese companies will build at least two new 650-MW reactors at Chashma. The revelations of China’s decision to go ahead with the two reactors comes weeks after the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

A Pakistani official was quoted by the Financial Times as welcoming the deal, saying: "Our Chinese brothers have once again lived up to our expectations. They have agreed to continue cooperating with us in the nuclear energy field."

While the deal was seen here as confirmation by China to continue with its policy to regard Pakistan as a "all weather" strategic partner, there is still no information on how Beijing plans to build the reactors without the approval of the the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the multinational body seeking to control trade in atomic materials.