Thursday, March 21, 2013
China To Modernize And Upgrade Pakistan's Reactors, Nuclear Weapons Arsenal
This is the most important news story you'll read today.
China has reached an agreement with Pakistan to construct a third nuclear reactor located at Chashma and to modernize Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, including development of a new warhead for Pakistan’s missile arsenal.
According to U.S. intelligence and diplomatic officials, the secret agreement for the Chashma 3 reactor was signed in Beijing during the visit by a delegation from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission from Feb. 15 to 18.
The agreement calls for the state-run China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) to construct a 1,000-megawatt power plant at Chashma, located in the northern province of Punjab, where two earlier Chinese reactors were built.
China’s government last month issued an internal notice to officials within its nuclear establishment and to regional political leaders urging care to avoid any leaks of information about the nuclear sale that Beijing expects will be controversial, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The reactor deal had been in the works for several years and prompted high-level U.S. government efforts to block the sale because of concerns it will boost Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.
The CNNC is China’s main nuclear weapons producer and has been linked in the past to Pakistan’s nuclear arms program by U.S. intelligence agencies. CNNC sold thousands of ring magnets to Pakistan during the 1990s that were used in centrifuges that produced highly enriched uranium for weapons.
According to the Obama Administration, China's actions violate an international accord against proliferation.
In 2004, China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a voluntary association that seeks international cooperation in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. China agreed at the time not to not to sell additional reactors to Pakistan beyond the two reactors it sold Pakistan earlier, and member states pledge not to sell any nuclear materials to any state not a a member of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA).
Pakistan not only isn't a member, it has a shameful history of aiding and abetting illegal proliferation.
It was AQ Khan who not only created Pakistan's nuclear weapons but set up what amounted to an illegal supermarket in nuclear weapons technology for some of the world's worst actors. Among Khan's customers were Iran, Libya and Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and the Pakistanis also acted as brokers for North Korean missile technology.
For the Chinese to provide up to date nuclear hardware for this unstable Muslim nation is incredibly dangerous, short sighted and foolish. Some of that nuclear technology could find its way to the jihadis Pakistan collaborates with like Lashkar e Tiaba or the Taliban and end up sparking a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
And it might not stop there. Have the Chinese forgotten they have their own Muslim insurgency to deal with in Western China with the Uighers - just over the China Pakistan border?
It will be interesting to see what, if anything the Obama Administration does about this.