1. Despite Tensions, U.S., Israel Unite to Track Uranium to Iran
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The United States has asked 10 uranium-rich countries to tighten their monitoring of sales of the mineral to Iran, according to a document obtained by Haaretz. The move is based on an American estimate that Iran's uranium reserves will run out by 2010. A senior American delegation will arrive in Israel next week for talks on the dialogue between Iran and Western countries, especially regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
The document was distributed by the U.S. State Department to 10 countries that produce yellowcake, a uranium concentrate used as a raw material for enriching uranium. The United States wants the countries to increase monitoring of the sale of yellowcake to Iran.
According to the document, "As a consequence of its geology, Iran's reported indigenous uranium reserves are insufficient to support its current nuclear reactor program for sustained period of time .... Calculations based on Iran's rate of uranium conversion thus far suggest that Iran will run out of yellowcake in 2010." Advertisement
The document is defined as a so-called non-paper to be used in contacts with privately owned companies that produce the concentrate. It was sent to Russia, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Britain, Kazakhstan and three others countries.
UN sanctions prohibit the sale of uranium to Iran, but the United States fears that the Islamic Republic might be trying to acquire the material anyway. "Iran could soon begin, or may have already begun, to look for outside suppliers of uranium," the document says. "Extreme vigilance in dealing with Iran and its nuclear program is necessary given the requirements of the UN Security Council and the significant threat Iran presents to international peace and security."
The document also notes that given "Iran's publicly stated ambition to pursue its enrichment-related activities, we believe it critically important that the world's major uranium resource companies prevent all exports of uranium to Iran unless contained in fuel rods and for an established light-water reactor.
Beyond the responsibility to prevent nuclear proliferation that we all share and the specific requirements of the UNSC, we believe that nuclear cooperation - particularly the provision of raw nuclear materials - with Iran is a significant business and reputational risk."
It adds that "we urge companies subject to your jurisdiction not to facilitate Iran's nuclear ambitions by engaging in new business deals with Iran until all concerns regarding its intentions have been resolved and confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program has been established."
Next Wednesday, a senior U.S. delegation led by National Security Adviser James Jones will arrive in Israel. He will be accompanied by President Barack Obama's special Mideast adviser, Dennis Ross, who recently served as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's special adviser on Iran.
The delegation will also include representatives of the CIA, Defense Department, Treasury and State Department. These officials were invited to Israel by National Security Advisor Uzi Arad, who will lead the Israeli side in what is said to be a continuation of talks held in Washington around three weeks ago.
Available at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1102021.html
2. US Ready to Upgrade Defences of Gulf Allies if Iran Builds Nuclear Arms
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Hillary Clinton today outlined how the US may go about containing a nuclear-armed Iran by extending a "defence umbrella" to US allies in the region.
The US secretary of state, speaking on the way to a security summit in Thailand, later said she was not suggesting a new policy. But her comments marked the first time a senior US official has publicly contemplated the option of containment in the event of Iran's succeeding in building a nuclear weapon.
Until today such an option was a taboo subject among US government officials and their British counterparts, who have insisted Iran would be ultimately stopped from constructing a warhead.
Iran says its nuclear programme is not for military purposes, and refuses to comply with UN security council resolutions calling on Tehran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. The impasse has grown into a crisis as the enrichment programme has expanded over the past few years.
"We will still hold the door open [for negotiations], but we also have made it clear that we will take actions, as I have said time and time again, crippling action working to upgrade the defences of our partners in the region," Clinton told Thai television.
"We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment: that if the United States extends a defence umbrella over the region, if we do even more to develop the military capacity of those [allies] in the Gulf, it is unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon."
Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Tehran, said: "She's implying that, if Iran became a nuclear weapon state, then the US would develop their existing defence commitments and that the US would contemplate nuclear deterrence to protect Persian Gulf states."
Clinton's remarks appeared to be aimed at influencing the decisions being made in Tehran. She was also seeking to fend off an arms race in the Middle East, where America's Arab allies are nervous about the rise of a nuclear Iran, and considering their own nuclear options.
But her comments angered America's closest ally in the region, Israel, and drew an immediate riposte from minister of intelligence and atomic energy, Dan Meridor.
"I was not thrilled to hear the American statement … that they will protect their allies with a nuclear umbrella, as if they have already come to terms with a nuclear Iran. I think that's a mistake," Meridor said on Army Radio.
Asked for clarification at press conference, Clinton said: "I was simply pointing out that Iran needs to understand that its pursuit of nuclear weapons will not advance its security or achieve its goals of enhancing its power both regionally and globally. "The focus that Iran must have is that it faces the prospect if it pursues nuclear weapons of sparking an arms race in the region. That should affect the calculation of what Iran intends to do and what it believes is in its national security interest because it may render Iran less secure, not more secure."
The remarks appear to reflect deepening US pessimism on Iran following the June presidential elections, which brought an entrenchment by hardliners in Tehran.
Hopes had been raised in Washington that Barack Obama's warm overtures to the Iranian people and the offer of talks without preconditions would break the long-running impasse over uranium enrichment.
Iran has so far not replied to the latest offer from six major powers – the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – to provide economic help and technical assistance in building a nuclear power industry, if Iran suspends enrichment. Little hope is left in Washington or other western capitals that any response now will be positive.
The outgoing director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, said recently he thought Iran was developing a breakout capacity to build nuclear weapons, as an "insurance policy" against perceived foreign threats.
The containment option is boosted by the belief that Iran is running out of uranium ore to convert and enrich. The US thinks the supply will run out by next year and is urging all uranium-producing countries to tighten control over their exports, to ensure Iran does not get hold of any more.
If that effort is successful, it would limit the size of arsenals Iran is able to build. That is the theory at least. It is very much plan B as far as the west is concerned, but it is a bow to new realities.
Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/22/clinton-iran-nuclear-umbrella-gulf
1. N. Korea Defiant at Security Forum, No Breakthrough in Sight
Yonhap News Agency
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The U.S. message for North Korea was simple and clear: continue with the nuclear gambit and face unrelenting international pressure, or denuclearize completely and receive a "comprehensive package" of incentives.
Pyongyang's response, equally unequivocal, was that its nuclear arsenal was necessary to protect its sovereignty.
Dashing any hope of a breakthrough in the deadlocked nuclear talks, this week's ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on this Thai resort island only succeeded in highlighting the deep mistrust between the two sides and heralded a protracted standoff between them.
The annual forum, attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, set the stage for a war of words between the outspoken political veteran and a communist North known for its vitriolic rhetoric.
North Korea, in apparent protest against international pressure over its recent nuclear and missile tests, dispatched a vice foreign minister-level ambassador, Pak Kun-gwang, to head its delegation to the talks in place of its foreign minister, Pak Ui-chun.
Refusing to meet bilaterally with the North Korean delegation, Clinton used various press interviews and briefings here to deliver the Obama administration's warnings to Pyongyang. With "no place to go" and "no friends left," she said the North faces a world unified in efforts to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874 that imposes tough sanctions on Pyongyang.
Clinton also likened the North to "unruly teenagers" demanding attention, while simultaneously emphasizing that there is still a chance for the beleaguered country to break its isolation.
"We and our partners have a more ambitious agenda for any future talks. Such talks must lead to irreversible steps by North Korea to denuclearize. This, in turn, would lead us and our partners to reciprocate in a comprehensive and coordinated manner," she said. "Full normalization of relationships, a permanent peace regime, and significant energy and economic assistance are all possible in the context of full and verifiable denuclearization."
Clinton's comments came after a series of one-one-one talks with her counterparts from South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan, all of which are struggling to revitalize the six-way denuclearization talks with the North. The bilateral meetings served as an alternative to a five-way meeting proposed by South Korea but opposed by China, host of the six-party talks.
South Korean officials said the bilateral talks were equally meaningful and effective in consulting on North Korea.
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told reporters shortly after the ARF session that he was impressed by China's clear disapproval of the North's nuclear development and Beijing's commitment to implementing the U.N. sanctions resolution.
But North Korea remained defiant and made clear it would not return to the bargaining table unless the U.S. rolls back its "hostility." In the North's first and only press availability here during the ARF, Ri Hung-sik, head of the North Korean foreign ministry's international organization bureau, said Thursday that the Obama administration's denuclearization policy was a repeat of the Bush administration's attempt to unilaterally disarm Pyongyang through "complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement" of its nuclear program.
He ascribed the North's renewed missile and nuclear activities to Washington's "deep-rooted hostile policy" against it. In Pyongyang, meanwhile, the North's foreign ministry hurled personal insults at Clinton for her "vulgar remarks," describing her as a "funny lady" who sometimes "looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping," apparently responding to Clinton's comparison of the North to an ill-mannered child.
The U.S. State Department struck back. "What is vulgar is that the North Korean government chooses to harvest missiles rather than enough food for its people," its spokesman Philip Crowley said. "And what is unintelligent is the path that the North Korean government has chosen. It's a dead-end which dooms the North Korean people to a dismal future."
The heated exchange between Pyongyang and Washington suggests that a quick breakthrough is unlikely in the months-long stalemate.
"It will take more time to break the impasse," a senior South Korean government official said at a private meeting with a group of reporters.
He stressed, however, that not all doors were closed. The impasse, he said, "will not continue forever."
It is not unusual for North Korea to insist on its position and criticize the U.S. and its allies at the ARF and other multilateral events.
More noteworthy is that North Korea has refrained from taking further provocative steps in recent weeks, possible a sign that it is taking a wait-and-see attitude to Washington's "two-track" approach that seeks dialogue with the North while imposing sanctions.
"It is important to read the actual mood in Pyongyang, not every comment by a working-level official at the ARF," the official said. "It is still early to say that North Korea feels severe pain from the U.N. sanctions. There is a possibility that North Korea will change its course and seek dialogue as time goes by."
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2009/07/24/46/0401000000AEN20090724004200315F.HTML
2. NKorea-Burma Relations Could be Nuclear: Clinton
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that North Korea may be transferring nuclear technology to ASEAN member, Burma.
At the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phuket, Mrs Clinton referred to concerns about cooperation between North Korea and Burma in the pursuit of offensive weapons, including perhaps nuclear weapons.
Presenter: Sen Lam Speakers: Dr Jim Walsh, international security expert, Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Listen: Windows Media WALSH: There are suspicions but there is not hard convincing evidence. Burma has been interested in a nuclear program for some time now, has not had good relations with North Korea, didn't have good relations in the 80s and in the 1990s, but beginning in the 2000 started to have backroom conversations with North Korea, military-to-military contact, and in the meantime Burma tried to get a nuclear reactor, a small nuclear reactor from Russia, that's where the focus of their activity had been. So yes they're interested in nuclear technology, yes North Korea has sold nuclear technology, so that's why there's a suspicion, but we haven't seen any firm evidence yet.
LAM: And of course I think it's the first time that it's been voiced in public by a senior American official, but has the US been monitoring this issue?
WALSH: Yes absolutely, if you go back to 2000-2002, that is when Burma first indicated it had an interest in acquiring nuclear technology. They said they wanted a small research reactor from Russia in order to make medical isotopes, which seemed like an odd thing to be getting engaged in for a country of Burma's profile. The Russians first said yes then said no, and then it sort of drifted for a while, but periodically there have been pronouncements by Burma that it was interested in in technology and officials who have visited the country, former ambassadors say that Burma wants nuclear technology and perhaps even the bomb, but at least nuclear technology because of the prestige, because it would be able to show that it could stand up to outside powers, again something that North Korea has some experience with. They're both countries that are in a corner, both countries don't have many friends, so you can imagine a marriage of convenience but a suspicion and a fact are two different things. So what we're waiting on is to see any real evidence of a transfer.
LAM: Indeed like North Korea Burma can barely feed its people, so why would it be interested in nuclear technology?
WALSH: Well I think if you look at the history of the nuclear age there are some countries that want nuclear technology because they want it for defensive purposes, they feel threatened. But many want nuclear technology out of prestige, a desire for international status in order that other countries will respect you. And particularly if you're a country or a government that does not have a lot of internal legitimacy, and you don't have a lot of international legitimacy, some leaders think that nuclear technology is a way to compensate for that, to appear modern, to appear advanced and to gain some political weight. Now I think there's real reasons to doubt that equation, to doubt that nuclear technology provides that, but it is not uncommon in the nuclear age for some leaders to believe that's the case.
LAM: And Jim Walsh what about China, would China be concerned if Burma were being helped by North Korea given Beijing's close relationship with Pyongyang?
WALSH: Yes I think absolutely China would be concerned, other countries in the region would be concerned, India would be concerned, Russia seems to have been less concerned but they might pay more attention now. If you look at Burma's statement during that controversy involving the ship that everyone was following when it was heading towards Burma, the Burmese government issued a statement telling the ship to go away at one point. And it sure didn't sound like it was coming from a friend of North Korea. I think it bears watching but I think at most this is a marriage of convenience and Burma would just as easily wash its hands of North Korea if it sees that that's in its interests to do so.
LAM: Indeed so there is a huge question mark over how close the relationship is between North Korea and Burma?
WALSH: Well I think they have common interests, that is to say they're both states that are under international opprobrium. But that only gets you so far in a relationship the fact that everyone else doesn't like you very much. They both have their own national interests that they have to depend on others to achieve, and so they're going to manage their relations very carefully. It's not going to help Burma if the world thinks it's in the pocket of North Korea and that's just going to bring it more problems. So I think both countries will walk that line in a very careful way.
Available at: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/200907/s2635444.htm
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday made a formal request to the Barack Obama administration to consider re-listing North Korea on a roster of terrorism-sponsoring states since the North poses a threat to other Asian countries. By a vote of 66-31, senators led by John Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, passed a revised defense budget bill including that request.
The bill requires a report within 30 days evaluating North Korea's actions in the nine months since it was removed from the list of terrorism sponsoring countries on Oct. 11, 2008. It also calls for a search for evidence of North Korea supporting terrorist groups and an investigation into its record of spreading weapons of mass destruction.
The bill calls North Korea "a threat to peace and security in Northeast Asia and the world," urging the administration to consider additional sanctions if necessary. It contains revisions to an earlier version proposed by hardline Republican Senator Sam Brownback demanding the immediate re-listing on the terror roster.
The passage of the bill shows that the Democrat-led Senate feels the need to take harsher steps against North Korea. The Democrats have taken a relatively cautious stance while Republicans including Brownback and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have sought to put North Korea back on the list. Following sanctions against North Korea by the UN Security Council, suspicions have risen over a possible nuclear deal between North Korea and Burma, leading to a more hawkish atmosphere among U.S. lawmakers.
Senator Richard Lugar, an influential Republican in U.S. diplomacy and national security, voiced his suspicion of a North Korea-Burma nuclear deal during the confirmation hearing last month on Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday during the ASEAN Regional Forum she was "very concerned" about such a deal.
North Korea was taken off the list of terror sponsoring states on condition that it allows international inspectors to verify its nuclear program. It had been on the list since 1988. But North Korea then did not cooperate with international inspectors and later brazenly conducted a second nuclear test, leading to criticism that the U.S. government had been fooled.
Available at: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/07/24/2009072400687.html
4. Japan to Freeze Asset of 5 Entities, 5 Individuals of DPRK
Xinhua News Agency
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Japan will freeze asset of five individuals and five entities from Friday for their involvement in Pyongyang's nuclear development actives in line with a UN Security Council resolution, the government said on Thursday.
Tokyo will also confirm on Friday an entry and transit ban on the five individuals as the sanctions committee of the 15-member Security Council designated them anew last week.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference that the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) should "take seriously" the message from the international community and to "fully implement" them.
The firms to be subject to asset freezes include the General Bureau of Atomic Energy, which Tokyo said is a DPRK government body responsible for the country's nuclear program. Director of the entity, Ri Je Son, will also be sanctioned by Japan.
The sanction is in line with the UN Resolution 1874, which the council adopted on June 12 in response to Pyongyang's second underground nuclear test on May 25.
The five entities and five individuals are in a list drawn up by the U.N. sanctions committee last week.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/23/content_11759848.htm
5. U.S. Closely Watching N. Korean Proliferation Efforts: Pentagon
Yonhap News Agency
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The United States is closely monitoring any efforts by North Korea to proliferate its weapons of mass destruction -- trade that is banned under a United Nations resolution, the Pentagon said Thursday.
"The United States is fulfilling its obligations," spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a daily news briefing. "We have a role in that. We have certain capabilities and resources. We are, obviously, watching North Korea closely from many different aspects: the proliferation aspect, shipping, as well as monitoring missile activities."
The spokesman was referring to the resolution adopted after North Korea's nuclear test on May 25.
The resolution bans the North from any further nuclear and ballistic missile tests and imposes financial sanctions, an overall arms embargo and cargo interdictions to head off the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms.
Under the resolution, the U.N. Security Council slapped fresh sanctions on North Korea last week by listing five North Korean officials and as many North Korean firms subject to a travel ban and asset freeze for their involvement in nuclear and missile development programs.
Adm. Timothy Keating, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Wednesday expressed concerns over North Korea's alleged military cooperation with Myanmar, formerly Burma.
"If it is, in fact, Burma that is receiving goods and assistance from North Korea, that's against -- that violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718," Keating said. "And we, along with the international community, would be very concerned if that is, in fact, occurring."
The commander was echoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also Wednesday expressed "growing concerns" over "military cooperation between North Korea and Burma, which we take very seriously," hinting at the possible transfer of nuclear and missile technology.
On Clinton's remarks, Whitman said, "She is carrying very strong messages this government and many countries around the world have for some time about North Korean behavior."
A North Korean cargo ship, possibly on its way to Myanmar, returned home recently after a pursuit by U.S. Navy vessels operating under an interdiction mandate imposed recently by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, which was adopted in early June after North Korea's second nuclear test in May.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2009/07/24/26/0301000000AEN20090724000200315F.HTML
6. Mongolia Pledges to Push North Korea Back to Talks
Yonhap News Agency
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South Korea's defense minister met with his Mongolian counterpart on Wednesday and drew his pledge to press North Korea to stop raising tension and return to talks, his office here said.
Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee is in Ulan Bator as part of a six-day tour that took him to Moscow earlier this week. The trip came as tension persists in the region after North Korea conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 and drew sanctions from the United Nations.
In his meeting with Mongolian Defense Minister Luvsanvandan Bold, Lee called on Ulan Bator to play "a constructive role" in persuading North Korea to return to talks with South Korea, the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul said in a statement.
Mongolia has over the years strengthened ties with North Korea, especially in importing workers from the reclusive communist country to support its understaffed economy.
"The two ministers agreed that unified international action is needed to achieve nuclear dismantlement in North Korea," the ministry said. "Minister Bold said he would make active efforts to resolve the North Korean problem."
On Wednesday, Lee met with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and agreed to push for five-way talks aimed at bringing North Korea back to international aid-for-denuclearization talks.
North Korea recently declared the talks useless in protest of a U.N. statement condemning the communist country for its April 5 rocket launch. The negotiations involved the two Korea, Russia, China, the United States and Japan.
According to his ministry, Lee has been working to carve out a security channel that links his country with Russia, Japan, China and the United States in dealing with North Korea.
Lee and Serdyukov "agreed to make joint efforts to support the five-way dialogue in order to bring North Korea back to the six-nation talks," the ministry said in a separate release.
North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2009/07/22/5/0401000000AEN20090722008500315F.HTML
1. EUMA Brings India into Non-Proliferation Mainstream: US
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US has hailed the defence end user monitoring agreement with India as a "landmark" pact, saying this could strengthen the global non-proliferation efforts and brings New Delhi into the mainstream of the regime.
"We believe that this agreement between the US and India is important in our overall global non-proliferation efforts," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters yesterday. "It is a very significant agreement. We are very proud," he said.
EUMA was finalised during the recent visit to India by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"End user means is basically making sure that material once it is delivered does not go to any other party unless there is some, sort of, agreement by the US," Wood said.
"We believe that this agreement brought India into the nuclear non-proliferation mainstream. It is a landmark event," he said.
Asked how the US would carry out the verification, Wood said: "I am not going to get into the details. Those types of issues will be worked out between the two sides and in consultation with the IAEA and other players".
Responding to a question on protests by opposition parties in India on the pact, Wood said the agreement is in the best interests of both the countries.
"India made a conscious decision to sign this agreement. India has said it's in its best interests. We certainly think it's in the interests of the United States," Wood said.
"We think it is an overall good agreement. And we will need to implement the agreement. Those activities are already under way. But I really just don't have anything to say about, you know, a specific comment on it," he said.
Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/euma-brings-india-into-non-proliferation-mainstream-us/68639/on
With the import of 420 tonnes of uranium in the current fiscal, nuclear power generation in the country is likely to be stepped up by 30 per cent, an economic think-tank has said.
“According to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), 420 tonnes of uranium will be imported in 2009-10. This is expected to lead to a 30 per cent increase (600 MW) in nuclear power generation during the year,” Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its monthly report for July.
“We have thus revised our forecast for growth in power generation in 2009-10 to 5.3 per cent from 4.6 per cent estimated earlier,” CMIE said. While India has already received 300 tonnes of the radioactive fuel from France and 60 tonnes from Russia, it i s expected to receive the remaining 60 tonnes by this month-end.
India currently has 1,49,392 MW of installed power generation capacity. Of this, 2,000 MW is generated by State-owned Nuclear Power Corp from its plants at Tarapur, Kakrapar, Kaiga, Narora and Kalpakkam.
Available at: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/businessline/blnus/14231160.htm
3. U.S.-India Relations Threaten Interests in Pakistan, China
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As the world’s largest democracy and member of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) nations, which are increasingly expected to define a new era of multi-polar power distribution in the international system, India is clearly of strategic importance to the United States. Just as important, however, are near term U.S. relations with Pakistan and long term strategic relations with China. The United States should tread lightly in Asia to ensure its zeal for improving relations with India does not sour ties with China and Pakistan in the process.
During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent trip to India, she noted three agreements between the United States and India that would be key to improving their long term relationship. These included a monitoring agreement to ensure military arms sold to India are not transferred to third parties; a technical-safeguards agreement to establish private sector transactions in military technology and hardware; and a catch-all “strategic dialogue” agreement intended to address issues ranging from human rights to terrorism. Evaluating these agreements in a geopolitical vacuum might lead one to conclude that they are rational, utility-maximizing agreements for both the United States and India.
Unfortunately, international relations do not take place inside a vacuum. These agreements risk unnecessarily damaging U.S. strategic interests with arguably more important international actors, namely India and China.
A Chinese poll conducted last month found that 90% of Chinese view India as a threat. As an additional point of friction, there is also a still disputed territory between the two countries that contributed to a Sino-Indian war in 1962. A recent New York Times article, meanwhile, notes that the Pakistani military continues to identify India as its greatest threat, more so even than terrorist groups transiting the Afghan-Pakistan border.
There is no reason for the United States to allow its diplomatic relations to become a zero sum game. The United States can improve ties with all three nations simultaneously by broadening cooperation with each on issues that do not inflame the others. With regard to India, this would include halting U.S. nuclear cooperation efforts with India in violation of the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Long term U.S. security will require productive relationships with Pakistan, China, and India. Any policy that secures one relationship at the expense of another is likely doomed to failure.
Available at: http://www.examiner.com/x-16317-DC-Asia-Policy-Examiner~y2009m7d23-USIndia-relations-threaten-interests-in-Pakistan-China
India is committing Rs 1,80,000 crore (Rs 1,800 billion) for the production of 30,000 Mw of nuclear power by three countries - Russia , France and the US - a significant bait that New Delhi has cast in the interests of gaining access to sensitive Enrichment and Reprocessing technologies and stabilising its fears over energy insecurity.
Meanwhile, the government is aiming to hand over its separation plan of safeguarded nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency towards the end of this month, to assuage US concerns that these plants will only use sensitive ENR technologies to reprocess spent fuel from these plants.
After a five-day visit to India, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [ Images ] is flying to Thailand to participate in meetings with the Association of the South-East Asian Nations (Asean), with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [ Images ] commitment to buy 10,000 Mw of civil nuclear power from US companies ringing in her ears.
While the two sites in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh that are being allocated to the US companies have not been named, they are expected to be based in Saurashtra in Gujarat and either Kowada or Pulivendula in Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, according to a Nikkei newspaper report from Tokyo, Westinghouse Electric Co, owned by Toshiba Corp, and the joint venture GE-Hitachi, are likely to win the US contracts.
Since the US companies are significantly Japanese-owned, and the Japanese public remains enormously sensitive to nuclear matters, the issue of reprocessing spent fuel will have to be addressed before the US-Japanese companies can set up shop in India.
India's civil nuclear market was thrown open after the Nuclear Suppliers Group gave India a "clean exemption" to conduct nuclear trade worldwide last September. But despite a G-8 statement in Italy last week preventing countries who have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - like India - from accessing sensitive ENR technologies, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee stated that India was not unduly concerned since it was going ahead with separate agreements with countries like France and Russia. So far, India has committed to buy 10,000 Mw each from India, Russia and France and hopes that the nuclear reactors will materialise in the next 25 years.
Besides the deals with Russia and France, framework nuclear agreements with Canada [ Images ] and the UK are on the cards. A pact with Kazakshtan, on the supply of nuclear fuel and technology was signed when Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev came to Delhi as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations.
All three nuclear trade pacts, including the one with the US, have varying degrees of private participation, with the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India being the end-user in each case.
The Indo-Russian inter-governmental agreement, signed when Russian president Dmitry Medvedev came to Delhi in December 2008, commits Atomstroi, a fully state-owned undertaking, to manufacture four reactors of 1,200 Mw each (in addition to the two that were already being built) in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu.
The Indo-Russian agreement also talks of a "future site" for additional reactors that has not been identified so far.
With France, Areva, a French company with an overall government stake of about 84 per cent, will first build two European Pressurised Reactors nuclear reactors of 1,650 Mw each, going up to six reactors, at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. Areva has also promised a lifetime of fuel supply for the reactors.
Areva chairman Arthur de Montalembert, in an email, refused to answer questions relating to income, profit and revenue, citing a confidentiality clause with NPCIL.
In February, India also promised to buy 2,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel worth $700 million from Russia to power its fuel-starved indigenous reactors, of which the first instalment has arrived last week. Last December, India also committed to buy 300 tonnes of nuclear fuel from France.
Available at: http://business.rediff.com/report/2009/jul/22/india-commits-rupees-180k-cr-to-nuclear-trade.htm
As the U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to complete all steps of the civil nuclear deal with India, U.S. President Barack Obama transmitted to the Congress his first report on the landmark accord but the contents were not made public.
The White House while referring to Mr. Obama’s action also said the India-U.S. nuclear deal sealed during the previous Bush Administration opened up new pathways for partnership between the two countries on non-proliferation issues globally.
“Civil nuclear cooperation with India has opened new pathways for a strengthened U.S.-India partnership on non-proliferation issues globally,” National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Chang told PTI.
Mr. Benjamin said Mr. Obama transmitted on Tuesday to the U.S. Congress his first report on the civil nuclear deal.
This is the first report issued by Mr. Obama since the entry into force of the 123 Agreement in December last year.
“The report covers the period of October 4, 2008, to June 30, 2009. It provides an update on U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation and developments that relate to India’s nuclear-related activities,” Mr. Obama wrote to the Chairman and ranking members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Mr. Obama wrote to them: “Classified information associated with these issues has been provided in a separate classified annex.”
The report also includes updates on joint efforts by India and the US to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
This is the first report issued by Mr. Obama since the entry into force of the 123 Agreement in December last year.
The report is being offered pursuant to the reporting requirements of the Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 and the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act of 2008, the latter being the approval legislation for the 123 Agreement.
Available at: http://www.hindu.com/2009/07/22/stories/2009072256811500.htm
Vowing to open a new chapter of relationship with Pakistan, France on Thursday underlined the possibility of signing, inter alia, agreement on nuclear cooperation for civilian purposes during President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit in coming December.
“The new chapter that France wants to open with Pakistan has two pillars including defence as well as internal security and economic development,” said visiting French Minister for Foreign Trade Anne Marie Idrac while addressing a press conference here.
Answering a question about security concerns of the foreign investors, she said, the government of France has full confidence in both Pakistan’s democracy and the country’s fight against terrorism.
Therefore, she said, France wants to help Pakistan in its fight against terrorism by providing both training and equipment for the army for border defence and, of course, police for internal security.
“France wants Pakistani democracy to succeed. This requires security, fight against terrorism and economic development,” the Minister said. According to her, it was the first visit of a French functionary of her level with economic portfolio to Pakistan in the last 20 years.
On the economic development side, she underlined areas including transport, energy, water treatment and the food and agriculture as priority sectors for the development of Pakistan and all correspond to a strong French know-how.
She further said that the main objective of her visit was to finalize framework on different trade and economic subjects before the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
France will also provide Pakistan with modern technology including Fennec Helicopter for curbing terrorism, she added.
To a question about Tiger Helicopters, French Ambassador here, Daniel Jouanneau, explained that the Pakistani army wanted these helicopters immediately while the French manufacturing company had a long waiting list. Therefore, Pakistan army, during the ongoing talks with French manufacturing companies, was discussing the purchase of Fennex helicopters.
Earlier, the visiting French Minister responding to repeated questions about bilateral nuclear co-operation for civilian purposes, made it clear that her government was considering helping Pakistan only for safety and security of existing nuclear facilities. She said a technical group of the two countries would meet soon in future to weigh possibility of the cooperation in the particular area.
When again asked about the possibility of France providing nuclear power reactors to Pakistan, she repeated her earlier statement.
She said that French private companies would sign their agreements after the President’s visit to enhance bilateral trade and defence relations between the two countries.
She also said that her country had provided 2.3 million euros for rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, adding that additional 10 million euros had been given for supplying food to them.
Idrac said that France would also provide 300 million euros during next three years (2009-2011) for social economic development, which had been announced in Friends of Democratic Pakistan Conference.
Asked about specific projects, she said one that has already neared maturity is a water treatment plant in Lahore to be followed by another one in Faislabad, while the third project for sure in the pipeline was that of power development.
Earlier, the French minister called on Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan desired a long-term strategic partnership with France and welcomed the French willingness for fostering multi-pronged cooperation between the two countries.
He also expressed his satisfaction with preliminary engagement between the two sides for signing of two framework agreements on defence and security and on economy and energy during the forthcoming visit of President Nicholas Sarkozy, later this year.
The Prime Minister thanked France for its assistance to the displaced persons and highlighted Pakistan’s requirement for the continued foreign assistance in rehabilitation of the dislocated persons and in the reconstruction phase in areas affected by the militancy.
He called for increased high-level exchanges between the two countries, particularly the parliamentarians which, he hoped, would pave the way for further strengthening the existing cordial ties in the political, economic, commercial, education and cultural fields.
While dilating on the current power crisis in the country, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan would like to diversify its energy mix and would welcome France’s assistance in increasing the power generation capacity of the country, particularly in hydel, solar, wind and nuclear energy fields.
The Prime Minister also sought France’s help to gain enhanced market access of its products to the European markets under EU’s GSP Plus scheme and for starting negotiations on Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and EU.
Anne Marie Idrac assured the Prime Minister of her country’s continued support to Pakistan to overcome its current economic difficulties and in winning the war against terror. She said that during her stay in Pakistan, she intended to hold detailed discussions with her counterpart on the framework agreement in economic and energy fields.
APP adds: President Asif Zardari said that Pakistan with road links to China and rail and road links to India and Central Asia has a unique position for international trade and commerce.
Talking to French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Ms Anne Marrie Idrac, the President said Pakistan had the resources of land, water and manpower and what it needed most was access to international market for its goods.
Talking to mediamen about the meeting, spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar said the President told the French minister that in the past because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and situation in the region, the security concerns had been emphasised more than social and human development.
Available at: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/24-Jul-2009/PakFrench-Ndeal-to-focus-on-safety/
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