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N-reactors: Pak, China sign pact

October 18, 2008 15:31 IST

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Pakistan will build two more nuclear reactors with Chinese assistance as part of its efforts to improve civil nuclear cooperation between two close allies, a top official said today.

An agreement to this effect was signed in Beijing [Images] in the course of the first visit of the new President Asif Ali Zardari to China that concluded yesterday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters here.

Though a deal on the lines of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal with China, which the media had speculated was on the cards, proved elusive, the foreign minister ruled out that there was a move to conclude such a pact.

But he said that Beijing had spoken out against the "discriminatory nature" of that agreement.

China had also said that there should not be any discrimination against Pakistan, which should get a similar nuclear deal, he said.

Qureshi said the agreement provided for building two new reactors at the Chashma nuclear complex that would generate 680 MW of electricity.

He said progress had also been made during Zardari's visit on improving civil nuclear cooperation with Chin but did not elaborate.

The Foreign Minister parried questions on whether Pakistan and China would have to seek approval from the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group for the new plants, saying the two countries had a strategic partnership and had been cooperating in the civil nuclear field for a long time.

He said Pakistan is a responsible nation that is cognisant of its international obligations. Pakistan and China had cooperated in civil nuclear field under "difficult circumstances" in the past and would continue to do so in the future. 

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