On March 22, The Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz reported that China would sell a new round of nuclear reactor technology to Pakistan at the existing site in the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex in the Punjab region. Several countries have argued that this transfer could violate Beijing’s pledges as a member of the Nuclear Supplier Control (NSG) to not sale nuclear materials, technologies, and related equipment to states outside the nonproliferation regime. Pakistan lacks a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, one of the NSG guideline requirements for nuclear exports.
The exact details of this reported deal are still unknown as official comments on the still developing story remain vague and parsed. China essentially confirmed that a deal was reached between the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, but specific details were not discussed and Beijing pushed back against accusations of NSG violations.
In this Policy Alert, we examine a number of important questions raised by the news:
- -What are the specific terms of the deal? Does it represent a fundamentally new nuclear sale that violates NSG guidelines or is the transfer merely a continuation of previously arranged China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation?
- -How has China and Pakistan responded to these reports and accusations?
- -What is the response of the United State and other NSG members to these new reports?
- -How could this reported deal influence regional nuclear energy and nonproliferation networks? (more…)
The argument that inducting India into the NSG as a member would seriously damage the NPT regime is rather disingenuous. The global nonproliferation regime has been most battered by signatory countries like North Korea and Iran that have been trying to do an end-run around the NPT, and by the 1995 NPT Review process itself that extended the NPT indefinitely without sufficiently strong conditions to ensure credible leverage over the P-5’s own disarmament agenda. The regime is languishing in a weakened state without any quick or easy solution. There is no chance that India will sign the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state and gain NSG membership. Given that India is now in a “half-way house” in a clearly imperfect NPT regime, the question that should be debated is whether it does more damage to the goals of nonproliferation to have India inside or outside the NSG. The answer to that question is not difficult.
Nearly all independent observers agree that India holds an exceptionally good record on nuclear trade and follows global norms even without NSG membership. But having India in the NSG will increase transparency of India’s actions and presumably aid international coordination—outcomes no one can argue with. On the other hand, Pakistan has not been able to shake off the fallout from highly incriminating allegations in 2002 about its trade of sensitive nuclear information with North Korea in exchange for ballistic missiles. It is practically impossible to find any credible analyst willing to confidently vouch for Pakistan’s clean record on nonproliferation—in the past or future. That China, a country linked to controversial nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, is raising obstacles to considering Indian membership in the NSG is telling. Indeed, one can only conclude that China is much more motivated by political competition with India and supporting India’s rival Pakistan, than by any real concern for nonproliferation protocols.
For more on the debate over India’s possible NSG membership, click here.Continue Reading →
Members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) met in Vienna last week to debate the possible inclusion of India into the group. China and several European nations resisted efforts by the United States, France, Britain, and Russia to integrate Asia’s third-largest economy into the NSG, a decision that could reshape the nuclear energy and nonproliferation landscape. The debate is being closely followed within India, who has yet to formally apply but could gain considerable prestige as part of the exclusive nuclear group.
The NSG, established in 1975, is a group of 46 nations who voluntarily agree to coordinate their export controls for transfers of peaceful nuclear material and related equipment and technology to non-nuclear-weapon states. NSG members promise to not transfer these sensitive items to governments outside of the international nuclear safeguards regime.
Asia is at the center of the current rise in demand for nuclear energy around the globe. India is looking to establish itself as a major player in future nuclear energy trade. Due to U.S. and international sanctions against India stemming from its nuclear weapons program and status outside the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), India developed a largely indigenous nuclear power program. According to the World Nuclear Association, India’s nuclear energy program will have a 14.6 MWe power capacity by 2010 and plans to supply a quarter of its electrical needs from nuclear reactors by the middle of this century.
This Nuclear Debates in Asia digest outlines why membership in the NSG is so important to India and how New Delhi can benefit from a place at the NSG table. (more…)Continue Reading →
After several weeks of internal deliberation, the United Nations Security Council agreed on Thursday to expand sanctions against North Korea in response to its February 12 nuclear test. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2094 joins a number of prior resolutions (1695, 1718, 1874, and 2087) issued after past missile experiments and nuclear tests by the reclusive nation.
The latest vote was unsurprisingly met with condemnation by Pyongyang, which announced that it was nullifying nonaggression and denuclearization pacts with South Korea, silencing an emergency hot-line between the two countries, and earlier this week threatened to carry out “a preemptive nuclear strike” on the United States.
RPI Nuclear Debates in Asia author Scott A. Snyder writes that the increasingly punitive resolutions are “designed to cut off flows of nuclear and missile technologies between North Korea and the outside world and to signal international disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear-related activities.” Furthermore, Snyder highlights that the resolution “reaffirms its support to the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, urges all the participants to intensify their efforts on the full and expeditious implementation of the 19 September 2005 [Six Party Talks] Joint Statement.”
Despite the unanimous vote on the Security Council, Snyder believes it remains to be seen:
“whether member states, including China, are prepared to implement these new measures, or whether they will be subjected to a combination of strict interpretations and “willful blindness” on the docks that would render the new measures ineffective.”
Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea Studies and director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, advises North Korean leaders that continued brinksmanship which “turns a deaf ear to the international community’s frustrations” could ultimately undermine its strategy of regime survival if these provocations lead to more “vigorous” implementation of current U.N. Security Council resolutions by long-time but increasingly irritated partners such as China.Continue Reading →
Just 30 years ago, China was a poor, isolated nation of rural farmers. The vast majority of its citizens struggled to afford food and clothes. But a series of free market reforms in the 1980s and ’90s transformed China, propelling it to the No. 2 spot in the global economy. China is now the world’s largest manufacturer and has the second biggest military. But a leading China expert and RPI author David Shambaugh says the rise of the Middle Kingdom has been greatly exaggerated. He says China’s influence is limited by isolationism and a focus on low-end manufacturing. NPR’s Diane Rehm and author David Shambaugh discuss the myth of China’s global power.
Listen to the audio and view the transcript here.Continue Reading →
The passage of a resolution by the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 22 condemning North Korea’s missile launch of Dec. 12, 2012, and expanding sanctions against the country, has brought about a defiant and ferocious response from Pyongyang.
North Korea issued a series of pronouncements declaring the nullification of the Sept. 19, 2005, agreement on denuclearization, the end of further talks on denuclearization including the six-party talks, and vowing to strengthen its nuclear and missile capabilities by continuing rocket launching and nuclear testing, which North Korea declared explicitly as targeted against the United States.
That North Korea would respond with fury to a U.N. resolution was anticipated, but the barrage of intensified anti-American rhetoric and the blunt declaration to continue the quest for nuclear weapons with ICBM capabilities, especially at this juncture in time, probably came as a surprise to many analysts.
Given North Korea’s explicit renunciation of the agreement on denuclearization, it would be impossible for the United States to entertain any thought of altering the existing policy variously labeled “manage and contain” or “sanctions with limited dialogue” toward a policy of dialogue and engagement. For South Korea, despite President-elect Park Geun-hye’s professed willingness to resume talks with the North without preconditions and to improve the relations with North Korea through a confidence-building process, she will be constrained from pursuing a conciliatory policy of engagement.
It will be so especially since she has insisted she will not tolerate the North’s nuclear program and will deal sternly with North Korean provocations. Similarly for Japan, it is inconceivable for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to consider moderating his hard-line stance toward North Korea.
The impact of North Korea’s policy pronouncements on the policies of China and Russia will be no less significant.Continue Reading →
After decades of accepting US supremacy in Asia as the foundation of its foreign and security policies, finding the right distance between the U.S. and China is the most important strategic choice facing Japan today. “Getting it just right” with these two powers will require both military and economic readjustments. But it will not be easy. Some in Japan fret about a Washington-Beijing “G-2” condominium. Others doubt U.S. capabilities and commitments going forward. There are also those who insist that unless Japan accommodates to Chinese power, it will lose influence in the region and globally. Still others are concerned that rivalry with China is unavoidable. Because the debate is often so clamorous, and because the Sino-Japanese relationship is so frequently punctuated by tension, the possibility that improved relations with China might be compatible with sustained close relations with the United States is often lost in the noise.
Read the full Policy Brief here.Continue Reading →
There is no doubt about China’s rising stature in the world, but plenty of uncertainty about exactly what kind of global power China will become. Not only do American policymakers have different opinions on China’s rise, even within China there is a range of viewpoints on this question, from the stridently nativist camp to the multilaterally-oriented globalist position.Across this spectrum of thought, multiple voices contend for influence by shaping the discourse behind China’s foreign policy decision making.
Read more on what these voices are saying about China as a global power in our latest Policy Brief.
Continue Reading →
In advance of the G8 and G20 meetings held at Camp David, Maryland, and in Los Cabos, Mexico, in May and June 2012, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs hosted two workshops to examine the pressures placed on international institutions as a result of changing international power dynamics. Approximately forty thought leaders from the private sector, government, civic sector, and academia, including RPI Co-PI Deepa Ollapally, came together in New York and Chicago as part of an ongoing Chicago Council research project on Rising Powers and a New Emerging Order. This working paper by Ambassador Richard S. Williamson, Chicago Council senior fellow on multilateral institutions, and Jana Chapman Gates, project director, summarizes the findings of the two workshops. These workshops were made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Learn more and download the working paper.Continue Reading →
By Shawn McHale, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University
The South China Sea is one of the great connecting oceans of the world, acting as a major conduit of Asian and global trade. It has also been a worrisome site of conflict. In recent years, disputes over territorial claims have led to armed clashes involving China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It has also led to demonstrations. Arguments have spilled into cyberspace: on YouTube, Google Earth, online newspaper articles, and chat rooms, nationalist tempers have flared over their country’s claims to these tiny islands, atolls, and reefs.
Most of the territorial claims over the South China Sea are surprisingly weak, and none is incontestable. Here we must distinguish between arguments over the Paracels, the far-flung cluster of islands, reefs, and atolls closest to China, and those over the Spratlys, a similarly widely spread set of islands further to the south. Only China and Vietnam contest the Paracels, whereas six countries have claims to the Spratlys. Finally, the contemporary bitter arguments over sovereignty in this area repeatedly invoke historical evidence. It is the latter issue that will be the focus of this Policy Commentary.
Bluntly stated, we cannot impose contemporary notions of sovereignty on historical practices before the twentieth century. Despite much misinformation and inflamed rhetoric to the contrary, historical evidence overwhelmingly supports the view that states did not, traditionally, claim exclusive territorial rights over the vast majority of the South China Sea. To the contrary: the area has historically been an Asian maritime commons. What, then, does the historical evidence suggest? And how has argument over this evidence shaped Asian identity politics today?Continue Reading →