Who's pushing nuclear proliferation: Commentary

The United States put forward a proposal at a meeting of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on Oct. 20, demanding a lift of the ban on sales of nuclear technologies to India, but was turned down.

Founded in 1975, NSG now has 44 members. It is an export control arrangement composed of nuclear supplier countries. Its principle is to strengthen control over nuclear exports in light of Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers and Trigger List, prevent the entry of nuclear materials and technologies into those countries that have not acceded to Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

In fact, the most immediate reason for the foundation of NSG was India's first nuclear test in 1974, after which the United States instantly cut off its nuclear cooperation with India and established NSG to restrict selling sensitive nuclear technologies and raw materials to non-NPT countries. Over the past 30 years, the United States has always been trying to prevent India from access to nuclear technologies. Today, however, the United States wants a change.

On July 18 this year, the US government pledged a full cooperation with India's civilian nuclear R&D programs, including selling advanced technologies to India. Nevertheless, according to NPT, the United States could not help but seek an amendment of its domestic law (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978.) and relevant international law (NSG's Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers) for the sake of transfers to India in the future. A senior US official said recently that US plans to complete the revisions mentioned above before president Bush's visit to India early next year.

Always calling itself a "guard" for nuclear proliferation prevention, the United States often condemns other countries for irresponsible transfers but this time, it hesitates not a bit in revising laws, taking the lead in "making an exception". This will bring about a series of negative impacts.

Such an act of the United States once again proves that America is not at all a "guard" of NPT and the Treaty however, is no more than a disguise serving the US interest. Even some US Congressmen assail the Bush administration if they insist on selling nuclear technologies to India, what norms the United States will follow on the nuclear issues of Iran and the Korean Peninsula?

While pressing Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), how can the United States win support from the international community? And how can it qualify itself for ordering others about on Russia's sales of nuclear technologies for civilian use to Iran? Now that the United States buys another country in with nuclear technologies in defiance of international treaty, other nuclear suppliers also have their own partners of interest as well as good reasons to copy what the United States did. A domino effect of nuclear proliferation, once turned into reality, will definitely lead to global nuclear proliferation and competition.

The nuclear policy the Bush administration cannot justify is also widely doubted in the United States. Former US president Jimmy Carter warned that America's "double standards" on nuclear issues are what to blame for the weakened force of NPT. Miriam Rajkumar, project associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, pointed out the US-India cooperation in nuclear technologies reinforced people's impression that nuclear weapons are an effective means of enhancing national strength. This would be a hard blow on America's leading role in the global proliferation prevention system as well as the system itself.

US acts leave people more and more dubious: is it striving to prevent nuclear proliferation or actively pushing in the opposite direction?

This article by Xin Benjian is carried on the third page of People's Daily, Oct. 26, and translated by People's Daily Online



People's Daily Online --- http://english.people.com.cn/