China develops south Asian relationships

28 April 2008

A Chinese delegation to Pakistan has reaffirmed commitments to nuclear cooperation. A separate mission to Bangladesh raised the possibility that the country could enjoy a similar cooperative relationship.

Yang Jiechi 
Yang Jiechi speaks at the Chinese
embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan
China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi met with Pakistani officials including President Pervez Musharraf and prime minister Yousaf Raza Jilani on 26 April.


Yang said the two countries were important strategic partners and they would continue to expand cooperation in trade and energy. At a press conference after the meetings, Yang said that peaceful nuclear technology was Pakistan's right and that his country would continue to work with Pakistan.


Kuna, the Kuwaiti official news agency, said the Chinese visit had come only a week after Musharraf had paid a visit to China, asking for the continuation of nuclear cooperation. 


The two countries have a vision for Pakistani nuclear energy to 2030, at which time they expect four new 320 MWe reactors and as many as seven 1000 MWe units to be in operation. Plans for the smaller reactors are developing more quickly, with Chasnupp and Kanupp apparently chosen for two each. Details of where the seven full-scale units could be sited have not been released.


A 137 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor already operates at Kanupp, while Chasnupp features one 300 MWe pressurized water reactor of Chinese design in operation and another has been under construction since December 2005. China National Nuclear Company has been the main contractor at Chasnupp, sourcing main components like steam generators and steam turbines from Chinese firms. China also supplies nuclear fuel for the units.


The day after his Pakistan visit ended, Yang's delegation found itself in Bangladesh. That country is reviving old plans for a limited nuclear power program, based around the Rooppur site on the Pabma river, which previous studies have indicated could probably support a 500 MWe nuclear power reactor.


Yang told reporters that China would like to 'get involved' in Rooppur, adding China to the list of possible partners that already includes Russia and South Korea. He added that China would like to develop nuclear cooperation arrangements similar to those enjoyed by Pakistan.