China today extended conditional support for India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid but said “prudence and caution” needs to be exercised on the issue, a day after US President Barack Obama backed India’s inclusion into the elite 48-member body.
“We believe that such (an) inclusion should be conducive to the integrity and effectiveness of the regime and decision should be made on consensus. We notice India’s commitment to relevant issues,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a media briefing.
“We support the group to include new members and we support India to take further measures to meet the requirements for the inclusion in the group,” she said.
In an effort to strengthen global non-proliferation and export control regimes, India and the US yesterday committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.
This was stated in the joint statement after President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks in New Delhi.
Besides clearing the obstacles for the implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, President Obama reaffirmed the US’ position that India meets MTCR requirements, India is ready for NSG membership and that it supports India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
Asked whether China wants to back any other country’s entry into NSG, a key body that controls the international civil nuclear trade regime, Hua said, “as for the expansion of the group, the members should make the decision on consensus after thorough discussions. India’s inclusion into this group is an internal matter of the group. It needs prudence and caution and thorough discussions among all members.”
“We support such discussion and we also support India’s inclusion into this group if it meets all the requirements,” she said.
Asked about Obama’s India visit and the critical commentaries in the official media here, Hua said, China considers India and the US as countries “commanding important influence in Asia Pacific.”
“We hope that the development of their relationship will be conducive to mutual trust and cooperation in the region and contribute to peace, stability of the region,” she said.
China’s stand on the nuclear deal and on India’s entry to the NSG was significant as it has backed Pakistan’s demand for such a deal in the past.
China has also announced plans to build two 1100MW nuclear power plants in Pakistan’s Karachi city with USD 6.5 billion assistance disregarding objections from India and the US which stated that the plan has no sanction of the NSG.
China brushed aside the criticism saying that it came under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
On India-US expressing concerns over South China Sea dispute, Hua said China believes that the disputes should be settled among parties concerned through peaceful talks and consultations.
China has disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
“At this stage the situation in South China Sea is generally stable and there is no problem with navigation freedom and freedom of over flights. We believe no problems will prop up in future. We hope the countries outside this region can play a constructive role on the South China Sea issue and jointly safeguard peace and stability there. Together we can ensure the serenity of the sea,” Hua said.