New Zealand Govt. urged to absolutely oppose contentious Sino-Pak nuke deal

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 07:50 hrs

With the US raising serious concerns over China's proposed assistance to Pakistan for setting up two nuclear reactors, the New Zealand government is also being urged to oppose the deal and do "what's right" at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting here on Thursday (June 24).

The United States and China are expected to clash at the international NSG meeting over China's proposal to build two nuclear reactors in Punjab's Chashma province, which already houses two of Pakistan's nuclear reactors.

Bejing has been arguing that the US itself had sidelined the NSG to ink a civil nuclear deal with India in 2008, however, Labour disarmament spokesman Phil Twyford stressed that just because Washington "got away with it in 2008, that did not mean China should."

"The fact that the US and China are two of the most powerful nations on Earth and are two of our biggest trading partners shouldn't stop the Government from doing what's right and opposing this deal," nz quoted Twyford, as saying.

"It's a litmus test of the Government's ability to pursue our national interest," he added.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington -based Arms Control Association, said that New Zealand must speak up on the issue, as the deal could 'indirectly' help countries like India and Pakistan make nuclear weapons.

"I think it's necessary for a country with New Zealand's record on nuclear weapons (policy) to speak up in opposition," Kimball said.

"If the NSG is to remain effective and credible, the delegates have a responsibility to uphold their own rules, strengthen and not weaken their guidelines to prevent weapons-related nuclear technology from proliferating, and to address the substantive issues outlined in our letter," he added.

Experts are also of the view that with the extremists expanding their roots, Pakistan is on a threshold of being declared a failed state, and a nuclear deal under these circumstances could enhance its nuclear weapons programme.

"I would think that's a cause for concern," said Angela Woodward, an arms control and disarmament expert from the University of Canterbury. (ANI)