Saturday, March 19, 2011

US opposes China-Pak nuclear deal

The United States has said that it opposes China's plans to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan, but also emphasized that the Obama administration has been very clear on the need to support Pakistan's energy development.

"We expect China to abide by the commitments that it made when it joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2004, and in particular we think the construction of new nuclear reactors such as the Chasma 3 and 4 would be inconsistent with those commitments. That remains our longstanding position," US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert O. Blake, said.

"We've been very clear in the Nuclear Suppliers Group context about that position, but we've also been very clear on the need to support Pakistan's energy development. Pakistan is facing quite severe energy shortages in many parts of the country so the United States has I think been in the lead in many cases in trying to help Pakistan to deal with those challenges and to not only refurbish some of its existing capacity to make it more efficient to help meet those demands, but to look at new ways to help, again, meet those energy challenges."

"But those remain a very considerable challenge in Pakistan and that will be one of our highest priorities of going forward," he added.

When asked if the Indian government has expressed concern over the nuclear deal and if they want the U.S. to do more, Blake said: "Not beyond what we've already talked about which is again, to hold Pakistan [sic] to its NSG commitments. I think that's their principal concern as well."

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