The United States is expected to seek clarifications from China over its deal to sell two nuclear reactors to Pakistan during the two-day strategic dialogue, which starts here on Monday.

The U.S., so far, has remained largely silent over the deal, which has triggered concerns among officials in both Washington and New Delhi over its impact on the nuclear non-proliferation regime. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said recently in Washington, the U.S. was closely examining the deal, and would continue to engage with China over its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

China recently confirmed it would set up two reactors in Pakistan, in addition to two earlier power reactors it has set up in Chashma. As a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group since 2004, China is required to seek an exemption from the NSG while transferring nuclear equipment to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Chinese officials have, however, argued the two reactors were "grandfathered" under the earlier agreement.

Mr. Steinberg said it was a position the U.S. had not yet “reached a final conclusion on.”

Asked about U.S. concerns over the deal, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai declined to confirm if they would be addressed, but stressed that the two countries would have “in-depth exchanges” on South Asia.

“China has friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with India, Pakistan and other south Asian countries,” he said. “We have extensive cooperation with South Asian countries covering wide ranging areas. Such relationships between China and South Asian countries are beneficial for bilateral relations and beneficial to peace and stability of South Asia. Our purpose is to jointly promote regional peace and stability, regional development and enhance our friendly relations with South Asian countries.”

Keywords: IAEAnuclear deal

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