MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - China supports a Russian proposal to set up international nuclear fuel centers under the control of the UN's nuclear watchdog, a senior official said Friday.
Sun Qin, chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), speaking in Beijing at a meeting with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, Sergei Kiriyenko, said, "Every country has the right to develop nuclear energy."
President Vladimir Putin said in late January that Russia was ready to build an international center "to offer nuclear fuel cycle services, including [uranium] enrichment" under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Russia has offered to enrich Iranian uranium on its soil as a compromise solution to the current standoff over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear programs.
Putin said that enrichment centers could also be set up in other "nuclear club" countries, providing access on a non-discriminatory basis to nations seeking nuclear fuel.
"We consider the initiative to establish international centers to provide nuclear fuel cycle services to be very significant," Sun Qin said.
He also called Russia and China "countries with a major responsibility".
"Our countries complement each other in cooperation on the non-proliferation regime, and in the peaceful use of nuclear energy," he said.
Kiriyenko, who began his visit to Beijing Friday, said that Russia highly valued cooperation with China, including through the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, and the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).