Amid deepening divisions over the disputed South China Sea, China and US will hold their high level annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue here tomorrow during which a host of issues including differences over India’s entry into the NSG are expected to be discussed.
Billed as the most comprehensive dialogue between the world’s two largest economies, it will be attended by top officials from both sides, including US Secretary of State John Kerry.
While South China Sea (SCS) issue which has now become a major flash point between the two countries is expected to dominate the two-day talks, a host of other issues including Taiwan, Tibet and India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are also expected to figure.
While the US has expressed its firm backing to India’s inclusion into the 48-member nuclear club building on the India-US nuclear accord, China has been insisting that there should be consensus among the members about inclusion of countries who have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India has not signed the NPT on the ground that it is discriminatory.Officials here are hopeful of a solution as China-US dialogue is taking place ahead of two of NSG’s key plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul during which the issue is expected to come up.
As India pressed its case, Pakistan too has applied amid reports that China is trying to push the case of its all-weather ally.
India itself has taken up this issue with top Chinese leadership as part of high profile diplomacy, specially during last month’s President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit here.
However, China last night said that differences still prevailed among the NSG members about non-NPT members.
“Discussion within the NSG is still going on about the accession of non-NPT countries, and NSG members remain divided on this issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry told PTI.
Still sticking to its stand that that new members should sign the NPT, the Ministry said “the NSG is part and parcel of the international non-proliferation regime”.
About the Pakistan application which China is reportedly backing, the Ministry said “China has noted Pakistan’s official application for NSG membership. Pakistan is not a party state to the NPT.”
Ahead of the US-China dialogue, Chinese officials said besides the SCS, China will bring up topics related to its major concerns, including the Taiwan question, Tibet and maritime security.
The two countries have differing pursuits on major issues at the strategic level. However, the two still have many common interests, official media here quoted Chinese officials as saying.