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Mr. Hibbs said Chinese officials had informed him that China sought to export two reactors to Pakistan for Chashma 3 and Chashma 4, and were of the opinion that Pakistan “should be compensated” for the U.S.-India nuclear deal.

Pakistan has sought a similar civilian nuclear deal with the U.S. to the one the Bush administration struck with India, but the Obama administration has been cool to the idea.

“If the United States were not to register opposition to China’s new exports, that would signal the United States under Obama was prepared to brush off an important nuclear nonproliferation norm on grounds of political expediency. … [T]acit U.S. acquiescence would seriously damage the NSG’s credibility as a rule maker for nuclear trade,” Mr. Hibbs wrote in a recent paper.

He added that the United States “may also tolerate China’s new nuclear deal with Pakistan because Obama wants China’s support for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran this spring.”