Washington objects to China-Pakistan nuclear deal

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post staff writer
Monday, June 14, 2010; 7:40 PM

The Obama administration has decided to object to a lucrative deal in which a state-owned Chinese companies would supply Pakistan with two nuclear reactors, U.S. officials said.

The deal is expected to be discussed next week at a meeting in New Zealand of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which monitors such transactions. Experts had said it appears to be a violation of international guidelines forbidding nuclear exports to countries that have not signed onto the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or do not have international safeguards on reactors. Pakistan has not signed the treaty.

China has suggested the sale is grandfathered from before it joined the NSG in 2004, because it was completing work on two earlier reactors for Pakistan at the time. But U.S. officials disagree.

"Additional nuclear cooperation with Pakistan beyond those specific projects that were grandfathered in 2004 would require consensus approval" by the NSG, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, "which we believe is extremely unlikely."

State Department spokesman Gordon DuGuid said the U.S. government "has reiterated to the Chinese government that the United States expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese nonproliferation obligations."

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