China makes direct pitch for Pakistan’s inclusion in NSG

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AQ Khan.
AQ Khan

Defending Pakistan’s nuclear record, Chinese official media on 21 June stated Pakistan’s chief nuclear scientist AQ Khan alone and not the government is responsible for atomic proliferation. It continued any exemption given to India for entry into NSG should be given to Pakistan too.

“India is making efforts to enter Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while making efforts to prevent Pakistan from joining the group by drumming up the latter’s bad record of nuclear proliferation. Khan had carried out the proliferation and it wasn’t the Pakistan government’s official policy,” according to an article in state-run Global Times.

This is the first time Chinese official media has made a direct pitch for Pakistan’s inclusion in the NSG. The article came as the NSG began its meeting in Seoul.

Khan was punished by the government later. He was kept under house arrest for many years. If the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the NSG can give India an exemption, the same should apply to Pakistan, it said.

India and Pakistan had conducted Nuke tests in 1998. Immediately, sanctions were imposed on the two by the US, the EU and Japan. After the September 11 attacks, the sanctions were lifted. The US even signed with India a Civil Nuclear Agreement and is backing India’s bid to join NSG. But India’s ‘nuclear status’ has not yet been solved, stated the article—’China no barrier to India joining NSG’.

If India and Pakistan join the NPT and adopt the CTBT, it will stain the authority of both.

The NSG is divided over non-NPT countries such as India becoming its members, China’s Foreign Ministry said on 20 June after Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj hoped to “convince China to support our entry to the NSG”.