External Affairs

Open to Discussions on India’s NSG Membership, Says China

Credit: PTI

Credit: PTI

Beijing: China, which has been opposing India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid, has for the first time said the “door is open” for discussion on the issue.

China’s foreign ministry, however, asked the 48-member NSG to “stay focussed” on whether the criteria should be changed on entry of non-NPT countries into the elite group.

“I have not seen the US statement supporting India. But US is one of those who made the rule that non-NPT countries should not join the NSG,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing.

“The relevant rule was made on the principle that non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was the cornerstone of the NSG,” she said.

Hua made the remarks in response to a question on the US, asking members of the nuclear trading club to support India’s application.

Later talking to the Indian media, Hua said while discussions were on among the NSG members, the admission of new members was not listed in the current plenary meeting in Seoul.

“The door is open. The room is there. We never said we are against a country. We did not target any country, India or Pakistan,” Hua said.

China for its part cares about the NPT as criteria for admission of the new members into the NSG, she added.

“This is the core of the international non-proliferation. If the non-proliferation regime is changed, how can we explain the Iranian nuclear treaty,” Hua argued.

Reiterating what she had said earlier, Hua stated that, “According to my understanding, it (entry of new members) is not on the agenda of the NSG meeting in Seoul.”

On the US’ backing for India’s NSG bid, Hua said, “We care about rules. The US just sets the rules. This is not an issue between China and India but (about) the pillar for non-proliferation system,” she said.