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NEW DELHI: China, facing pressure from the United States and others to help admit India to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), said on Tuesday it was Washington that put the stipulation permitting only nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatories to the elite club. A Chinese spokesperson, however, denied that Beijing was singling out any particular country for denial of the membership.

The Indian Express quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying as saying that the “door is open” for discussions over the admission of India and other non-NPT countries to the NSG.

“I have not seen the US statement supporting India. But US is one of those who made the rule that non-NPT countries should not join the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Ms Hua told a media briefing in Beijing, the Express said.

Later, she reiterated that admission of new members was not on the agenda of the NSG meeting under way in Seoul.

“The door is open. The room is there. We never said we are against who (a country). We did not target any country, India or Pakistan,” Ms Hua was quoted as saying.

The United States had earlier publicly exhorted members of the NSG to support the membership of India.

The Express recalled that Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar had made a two-day trip to China on June 16 and 17 to discuss India’s NSG membership with his Chinese counterpart.

It said this visit came ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 23 when both leaders would attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation leaders’ meeting in Tashkent.

China, the newspaper said, had maintained that more talks were needed to build a consensus on which countries could join the 48-nation NSG following the United States’ push to include India in the elite group.

Published in Dawn, June 22th, 2016