US lawmakers warn against China-Pakistan N-deals

July 24th, 2010 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 24 (IANS) Two US lawmakers have warned that continuation of “secretive” China-Pakistan nuclear deals is setting a wrong precedent as Islamabad had gained its atomic capabilities through “international deception” and “clandestine procurement” networks.

“China’s notorious record as a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) proliferator demands that it be given very close scrutiny,” Ed Royce, Republican co-chair of the Congress India Caucus said at House panel hearing on proliferation.

“I am a sceptic on China’s commitment to export controls given its past behaviour and certainly given its nonchalance about non-proliferation in general,” he said.

“Its just announced planned sale of two nuclear reactors to Pakistan and its multi-billion dollar investment in Iran’s energy sector are additional cases in point in terms of the way China behaves in this regard and I think Beijing’s pressure on the Obama administration to loosen export controls is concerning,” Royce said.

“In 1998, Pakistan conducted its first nuclear test, having developed its weapons far before then,” noted Brad Sherman, chairing a hearing of the terrorism, non-proliferation and trade sub-committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, last week.

“Pakistan had gained that capacity through international deception in part whereby the true end-user of various equipment was obscured through clandestine procurement networks,” he said.

“We now see similar networks on behalf of other states that either are trying to develop nuclear weapons or have done so illegally. These proliferation techniques need countries to be the trans-shipment hub in the supply chain,” said Sherman.

“Technology and equipment from companies in countries with high-tech manufacturing can then go to those hub countries and then on to the prohibited country,” Sherman said.

He alleged that these hub countries have weak or non-existent export controls, ineffective customs and law enforcement officials and most importantly, little or no political will to do anything about this critical problem, he said.

“In addition, large trade volumes at major trans-shipment ports can help camouflage the illicit shipment of diverted goods,” Sherman said.

The US experience with Pakistan’s nuclear programme demonstrated that export control laws will be of little value unless the US can properly control the flow of global cargo at trans-shipment hubs, he warned.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at )

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