China supports two-step approach within NSG for entry of non-NPT states

New Delhi [India], Sept. 13 : China on Tuesday said that it supports the notion of a two-step approach within the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to address non- Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) states' participation, which includes India and Pakistan.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in a statement said, "First stage means to explore and reach agreement on a non-discriminatory formula applicable to all the non-NPT states, and to proceed to take up country-specific membership issues at the second stage." The remarks were made during a meeting held today in New Delhi between Chinese delegation led by Director General Wang Qun of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indian delegation led by Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security).

Beijing, during the meeting pointed out, that the issue of the non-NPT states' participation in the NSG raises new questions for the Group under the new circumstances, and the crux of the above question is how to address the gap between the existing policies and practices of the non-NPT states and the existing international non-proliferation rules and norms based on the NPT as the cornerstone, the statement said.

"China wishes to see early commencement of an open and transparent inter-governmental process to undertake, in accordance with the mandate adopted by the NSG at its Seoul Plenary meeting, a comprehensive and thorough study on the question of the non-NPT states' participation in the NSG in various aspects," the statement added.

China also maintained that it has hitherto not yet taken a position on any country-specific membership in the category of the non-NPT states.

The statement added that the two sides also had in-depth discussions on issues related to cyber security and the work of the Conference on Disarmament.

The duo also agreed to hold the next round of consultation in China in due course, to be decided through diplomatic channels.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the discussions between the two were candid, pragmatic and substantive and the two sides agreed to meet for the next round on a mutually convenient date.

The meeting was the follow up of the talks held and agreed by Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in their meeting on August 13.

India has long been trying to secure the membership of the 48-member group but, China's stance on New Delhi not being a signatory of NPT has been blocking its bid to secure the seat.

Despite being backed by the U.S. and other countries, India failed to secure the membership at the NSG plenary session in Seoul in June following China's opposition.

NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Source: ANI