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China in 2004 joined the group and agreed not to sell additional reactors to Pakistan beyond the two reactors sold earlier. China is not permitted under NSG guidelines to sell nuclear goods to any country that is not part of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Two U.S. officials confirmed that the Chashma reactor deal was finally reached.

Spokesmen for the Chinese and Pakistani embassies could not be reached for comment.

A State Department official declined to provide details of the sale but said it is not permitted under the U.S. understanding of China’s admission to the nuclear group. That understanding is that China would not sell additional reactors to Pakistan’s Chashma complex.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) participating governments have discussed the issue of China’s expansion of nuclear cooperation with Pakistan at the last several NSG plenary sessions,” the official said.

“We remain concerned that a transfer of new reactors at Chashma appears to extend beyond the cooperation that was ‘grandfathered’ in when China was approved for membership in the NSG.”

The administration is expected to protest the sale at an upcoming NSG meeting in June.

Pakistan does not have full-scope IAEA safeguards in place, something that is required before China could provide the third Chashma reactor.

The 46-member NSG was formed in 1974 and its stated mission is to “contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports.”

China agreed as part of its NSG membership that it would limit future reactor sales to Pakistan to the Chashma 1 and Chashma 2 reactors.

The officials said China specifically directed Pakistani officials not to make the latest reactor deal public. Beijing sought to avoid the negative publicity expected from the deal that could upset the leadership transition that took place last week at the National People’s Congress, the communist mock parliament that formally appointed top communist leaders to government posts, the officials said.

China also sought to keep the reactor agreement secret from the United States, which this year is serving as the rotating head of the NSG.

The Chinese also urged the Pakistani delegation from the Atomic Energy Commission to play down the recent transfer of control to a Chinese company of the key port of Gwadar that U.S. officials said likely will be used by Chinese warships for port calls.

The port is close to the Persian Gulf, where some 20 percent of the world’s oil is produced.

The deal for Chashma was announced in July 2010 during the visit to China by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. However, the announced arrangement was limited to a memorandum of understanding.