France supports, China plays hardball on NSG
A day ahead of a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China on Wednesday changed tack on India’s entry into the elite club, saying only applications of countries that signed an atomic non-proliferation pact will be considered.
This is seen as a hardening of stand after Beijing had said on Tuesday there was still “room for discussion” on countries such as India.
Neither India nor Pakistan, which also wants to get into the club of countries controlling trade in sensitive nuclear technology, has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). Present NSG rules allow only NPT signatories to apply for membership.
“Deliberation on the entry of specific countries is on the agenda of the Seoul plenary meeting (June 23-24). However, it is worth noting that the meeting is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the NPT,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. “As for the entry of non-NPT countries, the group has never put that on its meeting agenda.”
The United States has already put its weight behind India, and on Wednesday France reiterated its support, saying New Delhi’s entry will help better regulate nuclear trade.
“In line with its active and longstanding support to India’s entry to the NSG as a full-fledged member, France calls on its members… to take a positive decision,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.