NEW DELHI: As India and Pakistan remain entangled in their gate-crashed nuclear power status, China reminded the world again on Friday that they were not legitimate members of the exclusive club, and it did not recognise them as such.
The comments came in Beijing through the foreign ministry spokesperson who was saying that China had no intention to recognise North Korea as a nuclear power.
“China has never recognised India and Pakistan as nuclear countries. Our position on this has never changed,” Chinese spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing in Beijing, Press Trust of India said.
The United States has helped India in acquiring a degree of legitimacy as a nuclear power, but the Chinese objection has stalled any outright legitimacy.
Saying China never recognised India and Pakistan as nuclear powers, he ruled out extending such a status to North Korea following the unsuccessful second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam.
He was replying to a question whether China would recognise North Korea as a nuclear state like India and Pakistan as talks between Trump and Kim at the second summit in Hanoi broke down over Pyongyang’s refusal to give up two nuclear processing plants.
China’s comments on the nuclear status of South Asia rivals come in the wake of global fears of a war breaking out between the two countries.
Pakistan on Friday returned to India an Air Force pilot who was arrested after his plane was shot down over Pakistan on Wednesday.
China has been blocking India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the ground that New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
India has said it has dropped bombs on “terror camps” inside Pakistani territory and killed a “very large number of terrorists”. But, Pakistan says that’s not the case.
After India applied for NSG membership, Pakistan too applied for the same; following that China has called for a two-step approach which states that NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and then move forward discussions of specific cases.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2019