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China not blocking India's entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group, says Foreign Ministry

By An Baijie | | Updated: 2017-02-22 02:13

China is willing to enhance strategic communication with India and expand practical cooperation to further develop bilateral ties, State Councilor Yang Jiechi said on Tuesday.

Yang made the remarks while meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar at the Zhongnanhai compound in Beijing.

Jaishankar is visiting China to attend the China-India Strategic Dialogue, a mechanism set up last year to create greater engagement between the nations.

China is willing to make joint efforts with India to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and to maintain high-level exchanges, he said.

Jaishankar said India would like to enhance dialogue and communication with China in all areas, expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and push forward progress in bilateral ties.

The two sides also exchanged views on issues of joint concern, including international relations.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, trade and the economy will top Jaishankar's discussions with Chinese officials. China is India's biggest trading partner outside the European Union. Chinese investment in India grew by 7.5 percent in 2016, to $1.06 billion.

India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group was also likely on the discussion list during the strategic dialogue, according to Indian media reports. The 45-member NSG, founded in 1975, controls global trade in nuclear technology.

On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news conference that China deems India's application for NSG membership as a "multilateral issue".

The NSG members need first to reach consensus on the criteria for entry into the group by countries that have not signed the non-proliferation treaty, and then move forward with discussions of specific cases, he said.

"Apart from India, other non-NPT state parties are also making applications. Our position on those applications is consistent," he added.

Jiang Jingkui, director of the Center for South Asian Studies at Peking University, said some Indian media outlets have accused China of intentionally blocking India's entry into the NSG, which "is wrong".

"Signing the NPT is a must for countries that apply for entry of NSG, but India has not signed the NPT yet,"he said, adding that China is just sticking to the principle, not targeting India.

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