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[cdn-nucl-l] South Africa/China nuclear Pact
Posted on iAfrica.com on December 11, 2001 at:
Small mention of the PBMR reactor down near the end.
SA, China to sign nuclear pact - Mbeki
Posted Tue, 11 Dec 2001
China and South Africa are close to signing a cooperation agreement on
nuclear energy as bilateral ties between the countries solidify, President
Thabo Mbeki said earlier today.
"South African and Chinese governments are close to concluding a cooperation
agreement on the peaceful use of atomic energy," Mbeki said during a speech
at Beijing's Tsinghua University.
"This agreement aims to build on existing cooperation in areas such as
technology development for nuclear reactors," he said.
South African officials said an agreement could come as soon as February,
but refused to outline the details of any potential cooperation with China
on the development of nuclear power.
Mbeki, on his first visit to China as president, met with Premier Zhu Rongji
and parliamentary head Li Peng, following official talks yesterday with
Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
"Your current visit will play a very important role for the promotion of
friendship and cooperation between our two countries," Zhu said at the start
of his talks.
South Africa and China normalised relations in 1998 after Pretoria severed
its diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Nelson Mandela visited as South African
president in 1999.
Much of Mbeki's talks centred on urging his hosts to slash Pretoria's
$334.5-million trade deficit with China and increase last year's
$912-million trade volume, South African officials said.
South Africa is China's largest trading partner in Africa, while China ranks
as South Africa's 10th largest trading nation.
A large delegation is accompanying Mbeki, including ministers of foreign
affairs, trade, energy, industry and defence, as well as a large contingent
of South African businessmen including mining, banking and weapons
Another theme of Mbeki's visit has been China's importance as a leading
developing nation and the role Beijing can play in Africa's development
through the emerging "New Partnership for Africa's Development" programme.
"We reiterate our view that we see China as an important partner in the
African development plan and we are confident that mutual benefits will flow
from such a partnership," he said in his speech.
Mbeki visited an experimental reactor at the Nuclear Technology Institute of
Tsinghua University yesterday, while mineral and energy minister Phuonzi
Mlambo-Ngcuka was expected to stay on in Beijing to continue her talks,
Mbeki said that Chinese nuclear experts were already working at South
Africa's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor.
"We are confident that we will extend this cooperation to other areas
focused on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy," he said in the speech.
South Africa has long been considered a country capable of building nuclear
weapons, but abandoned its nuclear weapons programme in 1991 when it signed
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In 1993, South Africa announced that it had voluntarily dismantled six
uranium nuclear bombs prior to signing the accord.
Following his talks in Beijing, Mbeki departed for a brief visit to Shanghai
and was scheduled to proceed on to Hong Kong later today. - AFP