China-US nuclear cooperation prospects unclear: Experts

December 27th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

New Delhi, Dec 27 (ANI): Chinese experts have said that it is difficult to predict Chinas response to US President-elect Barack Obamas proposal to resume exchanges with Chinese nuclear weapons laboratories in order to accelerate bilateral nuclear energy cooperation.

Obama had said in an interview with Arms Control Today magazine that in addition to holding a strategic nuclear dialogue with China, he wants to resume laboratory to laboratory exchanges that were terminated in the 1990s, China Daily quoted the Washington Times, as saying.

Zhou Shijian, a senior researcher with Tsinghua Universitys Center for China-US Relations Studies, said Obamas proposal would boost Sino-US cooperation on the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy, which is the major goal of nuclear laboratory exchanges.

Nuclear energy will replace large aircrafts to provide the greatest business opportunities between China and the US in the future, said Zhou, who witnessed the decades of uneven Sino-US negotiations on nuclear energy cooperation.

It would benefit both countries, because it would bring a substantial amount of jobs and profit to the US, while helping China update its nuclear energy facilities, China Daily quoted Zhou, as saying.

China plans to build four nuclear energy power plants every year until 2020, with each plant to cost an estimated 10 billion yuan, he said.

However, Fan Jishe, a senior researcher of US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it is still tricky to predict Chinas response to Obamas proposal, as Washingtons Chinese espionage smear during previous exchanges deeply hurt Beijing.

Beijing and Washington engaged in such exchanges in the 1990s. But these faltered in the late 1990s, as US intelligence and security officials accused China of using the program to extract classified information through question-and-answer sessions with US scientists. (ANI)

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