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Don't give nuke status to India, Pak: China

By Anil K Joseph in Beijing
June 29, 2004 19:01 IST
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China on Tuesday said it was not in favour of welcoming India and Pakistan into the five-member exclusive nuclear club and hoped the international community  would stick to principles of Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty as well as the spirit of the UN Security Council resolution passed soon after the South Asian nuclear tests of May 1998.

"The international community should stick to the spirit and principles enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as well as the consensus reached in the UN Security Council resolution 1172," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, Shen Guofang, told a group of Indian journalists in Beijing.

"In our region, we have seen many wars and conflicts, which have been either due to historical reasons or mutual non-confidence. So we believe that peace and development should be the main principles and policies for the countries in this region," he said.

Shen said this when asked to comment on New Delhi and Islamabad's quest to be recognised as nuclear powers along with Britain, China, France, the Untied States and Russia.

Shen also gave a similar response when asked for China's reaction to Union External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh's statement that India, Pakistan and China should have a 'common nuclear doctrine'.

"On principle, we oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Our consistent position is for a comprehensive ban and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. The NPT and as well as the UNSC resolution 1172 should be our guiding principle," Shen said.

The UNSC resolution 1172, passed soon after the South Asian nuclear tests, had, among other things, condemned the tests as well as urged India and Pakistan to immediately stop their nuclear weapon development programmes, to refrain from weaponisation or from deployment of nuclear weapons.

The resolution, passed unanimously, had also reaffirmed the Council's full commitment to and the crucial importance of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as the cornerstones of the international regime on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and as essential foundations for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.

Shen also welcomed the India-Pakistan peace initiatives and hoped that the dialogue would lead to the normalisation of bilateral ties.

"We welcome the improvement in India-Pakistan relationship as well as the confidence building measures. We particularly welcome the confidence building measures to enhance the security relationship between your two countries," he said.

Replying to questions on China's response to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a step championed by the United States, Shen said that though China does not oppose the move, it has some concerns and would like to have more dialogues on this issue.

"In principle we are opposed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and we support any plan aimed at checking proliferation," he said.

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Anil K Joseph in Beijing
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