BEIJING, September 8 – China said Monday the lifting of a nuclear trade embargo on India reflected the right of all nations to use atomic energy peacefully, while expressing hope it would help non-proliferation efforts.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, which controls the export and sale of nuclear technology, on Saturday lifted the 34-year-old embargo, paving the way for New Delhi to finalise a civilian technology nuclear deal with Washington.
"China has all along advocated that all nations are entitled to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement.
"At the same time, the relevant cooperation should help maintain the integrity and validity of the international nuclear non-proliferation system."
China had expressed concerns over lifting the ban since India, which had been denied access to civilian nuclear technology because it tested a nuclear weapon in 1974, is not a member of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
But India finally made a "formal declaration" on Friday to stand by its non-proliferation commitments and uphold its moratorium on tests, and China withdrew its earlier opposition.
"China hopes such a decision will be conducive to the international cooperation on use of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose and prevention of nuclear proliferation," Jiang said.
In a visit to China in January, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the world’s two most populous nations, who have a decades-long history of mistrust, should work together to develop their nuclear energy programmes.
Both countries have ambitious plans to develop nuclear energy industries in an effort to meet skyrocketing energy demand while trying to diversify away from coal and oil.