Beijing, May 23 (IANS) The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should decide whether non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are eligible to join the 48-member group before any decision is taken on Pakistan’s bid for membership, a Chinese spokesperson said on Monday.
Founded in London in 1975, the NSG controls the export and re-transfer of nuclear weapons materials. It has taken NPT signatory status as a precondition for membership but Pakistan is not a signatory to the treaty, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The group is still discussing accession of non-signatories and major differences persist,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said when asked if China backs Pakistan’s application.
“China and many other countries have called for thorough discussion on the first step in membership application by non-signatories,” Hua said.
She said China’s stance applies to all non-signatories, including Pakistan. “Pakistan is China’s all-weather friend and close neighbour. China’s position does not target at the country.”
On Friday, Pakistan said that it has formally applied for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, after China blocked India’s entry into the elite group.