Days after India blamed “one country” for blocking its entry into NSG, China today said “many countries” had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the nuclear trading club as it harped on the need for forging consensus over the issue.
“As we have learnt, the plenary meeting issued a news release that the meeting held discussions on technical legal and political issues regarding the accession of non-NPT members and agreed to continue with such discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing.
Asked about India blaming “one country” of blocking the entry of new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by raising procedural objections, Hong said at the plenary meeting in Seoul “many countries had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the group.”
“We believe that they should forge a consensus and then make a decision based on consultations and thorough discussions regarding the entry of the specific country,” he said, without directly referring to India.
Responding to reports about the appointment of Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi as the “facilitator” for informal consultations on India’s admission into NSG, Hong said, “We have never heard of any follow up steps.”
Hong also did not respond to a question on reports that NSG is expected to meet again later this year after Mexico’s initiative to discuss the entry of non-NPT members into the grouping.
“This is what we know about this plenary meeting. I also want to point out that for quite a long time, including in plenary in Seoul, China has been prompting the NSG to have thorough discussions on accession of non-NPT countries,” Hong said.
India and Pakistan, who applied for membership of the 48-member NSG, have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which China insists is a must for joining the grouping.
China was unrelenting in thwarting India’s NSG bid last week despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to support India’s case on its merits.
An upset India later accused “one country”, a clear reference to China, of persistently creating procedural hurdles during the discussions on its application.