China violated NPT by supplying N-reactors to Pakistan: report

01 August 2016

China, which had blocked India's bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) saying it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has itself broken the consensus of nuclear non-proliferation by supplying nuclear reactors to Pakistan a non-signatory to the NPT.

Commentators say China is playing a double game in blocking India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while it continues to supply nuclear reactors to Pakistan, a country which is not under IAEA safeguards.

According to a report by the Arms Control Association, while China continues to hail NPT as the cornerstone of a global non-proliferation regime, Beijing itself violates the NPT, making itself ineligible to be a member of the NSG.

In its latest report assessing progress on non-proliferation, the Arms Control Association says that China's 2013 deal for the Chasma-3 reactor in Pakistan contradicted the consensus document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which "reaffirms that new supply arrangements" for the transfer of nuclear materials and technology should require that the recipient accept NPT.

To be eligible for nuclear trade, the recipient ''should have full-scope IAEA safeguards and international legally-binding commitments not to acquire nuclear weapons". Islamabad has accepted neither. China, on the other hand, is creating procedural hurdles for India's NSG membership, saying India has not signed NPT.

India, however, continues to remain engaged with Beijing over the issue, hoping that it will review its position at some stage.

China had effectively blocked India's bid for NSG membership by writing to the NSG chair Rafael Mariano Grossi that NPT membership should be one of the "prerequisite factors" for consideration of NSG participation and that more discussions were needed before any "specific non-NPT" state could be allowed in.

China continues to be a member of the NSG since 2004 despite its supply of as many as 6 nuclear reactors to Pakistan's Chasma nuclear power complex.

Beijing has invented a pre-2003 agreement with Pakistan to defend its action of supplying nuclear reactors to a non-NPT nation - even though, as the report says, the exception should have been applicable only to the first two Chasma reactors whose sale was completed before China joined NSG.

By helping Pakistan with its nuclear energy programme, China has clearly violated NSG guidelines and shown disregard for the reservations expressed by its members who control international nuclear commerce, says the report.

"Despite progress on its export controls China continues to supply Pakistan with nuclear power reactors, despite objections that the sale of the reactors did not receive a consensus exemption from the NSG. Pakistan, which is neither an NPT member nor under full-scope IAEA safeguards, is therefore ineligible to receive such assistance under NSG rules," says the report by Arms Control Association.

The report also points to China's violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime+ (MTCR) guidelines and not keeping its commitment in 2000 to not help any country in developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. This has kept China out of the MTCR while India has now become a member of MTCR.

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