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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pakistan, China expected to sign civil nuclear deal

Pakistan and China are expected to sign a civil nuclear agreement during President Asif Ali Zardari's maiden state visit to the Communist nation, the country's envoy to Beijing said today.

Both countries have always supported the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy and an agreement in this connection is expected to be signed during the President's visit to China which began today, Ambassador Masood Khan said.

The two countries will ink several agreements in the fields of technology, agriculture and minerals. They will also sign an investment protocol to their existing free trade agreement to boost investments in Pakistan, he told Geo News channel.

Though Khan did not give details of the proposed civil nuclear pact, official sources were quoted by The Nation newspaper as saying that a nuclear deal with China would be the "main item" on Zardari's agenda.

An official told the newspaper that Zardari would seek a nuclear deal with China to meet Pakistan's increasing energy needs.

"What we need from our Chinese friends is the building of new nuclear reactors with their help and indications are already there that they will not disappoint us," the official said.

The government led by Zardari's Pakistan People's Party is under pressure from domestic political circles to seek a civil nuclear deal with China to match the atomic pact finalised between India and the US.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has urged the US to extend a similar deal to Pakistan and called on the world community not to discriminate between Pakistan and India in this regard.

(Source: Press Trust of India)

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