As India stepped up its campaign to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China tonight said that the 48-member nuclear club is divided on admitting new members and talks are still going on.
“Discussion within the NSG is still going on about the accession of non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) countries, and NSG members remain divided on this issue,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written statement to PTI on a question on India’s bid to get NSG membership.
Sticking to its stand that new members should sign the NPT, the Ministry said, “the NSG is part and parcel of the international non-proliferation regime”.
“The international community has forged consensus long ago that this regime is rooted upon the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, which was reaffirmed in the New York NPT review session held in the mid of last year. This is exactly why the NSG has always made the ‘NPT signatory status’ a prerequisite to accept new members,” it said.
About Pakistan’s application which China, a key member of the group, is reportedly backing, the Ministry said, “China has noted Pakistan’s official application for NSG membership. Pakistan is not a party state to the NPT.”
Stating that divisions still persist in the NSG about the admissions of new members, it said, “this explains why China and many countries have always proposed thorough discussions on the accession of non-NPT countries so that agreement and final decision can be reached through negotiation.”
“China’s position applies to all non-NPT countries including Pakistan,” the ministry said.
It, however, did not react to question about India signing Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation which seeks to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles, that can deliver weapons of mass destruction.
The response of China which is still averse to India’s membership while the US and several other countries backed New Delhi’s entry on the basis of its clean non-proliferation record came ahead of crucial NSG meetings this month.
The extraordinary plenary of NSG is due to be held in Vienna on June 9 followed by another meeting in Seoul on June 24 during which India’s application is due to come up.
Ahead of the meetings, India stepped up its campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying visit to the US, Mexico and Switzerland which are key members of the grouping.