Zardari staisfied with Sino-Pak atomic cooperation, China mum

Last Updated 09 July 2010, 10:51 IST

On the fourth day of his visit to China which gained prominence with speculation that it would firm up plans to build two 650 MW reactors for Pakistan as a move to counter Indo-US nuclear accord, Zardari said the Chinese gesture reflected the warm and friendly ties between the two countries.

The President, who is on his fifth official visit to China since 2008, expressed satisfaction over the cooperation between the two countries in civil-nuclear technology, setting aside reservations of the world community, Pakistan's official APP news agency reported, citing his speech at the Pak-China Economic Forum here.

He apparently did not make direct reference to the nuclear reactors but his remarks about reservations by the international community left little doubt, as the US and India have expressed concerns over Beijing's plans two build the two new nuclear reactors.

Washington has even sought details from China on how it could build the reactors without the nod of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) of which Beijing is a member.
In his speech, Zardari, who is in China on a six-day visit, noted that the Pakistan-China friendship was centuries old and stood the test of the time.
"Our relationships had now been passed to the third generation and now every child in Pakistan is looking forward to maintaining it with the same warm sentiments," he said.
The Sino-Pak friendship was an important feature for peace and stability in the region, he said, adding both countries had to stand together to fight the new challenges in the region.

Though the news about the deal to build the reactors in addition to two 300 mw reactors already built by China at Chashma was carried in bits and pieces by the Chinese state media, Chinese officials have not come out with any details so far to outline the modalities over it and whether any agreement has been signed during the current visit of Zardari.

All that Chinese Foreign Ministry officials had to say in recent weeks was that the nuclear cooperation between the two countries would be under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Zardari's Press Secretary, Faratullah Babar, had stated that an agreement in this regard had already been signed during the Pakistan President's visit here in 2009.

The issue figured during the recent visit here of National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who last week met the Chinese leadership as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy.

Menon said at the end of the talks that Chinese leaders told him that the reactors would be built in compliance with Beijing's international obligations.India would "wait and see" how the deal would go through, Menon had said.During his current visit, Zardari held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.Today, he left for Shanghai, where he is due to visit the Pakistan Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.

(Published 09 July 2010, 10:51 IST)

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