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2004-04-18 German talks on nuke gear hit hurdles

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Sunday, 18 April 2004 00:00

BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhuanet) -- China's efforts to buy nuclear equipment from a German factory have been suspended.

A government spokesman in Beijing said Tuesday that Premier Wen Jiabao probably won't raise the subject on his trip to Germany next month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said Chinese and German companies had been discussing a cooperative project concerning MOX, a fuel for nuclear power plants.

Anti-nuclear activists in Germany have tried to block the proposed sale, saying it is at odds with Germany's plan to shut down its own 19 nuclear power plants over the next few decades.

Kong said contacts between the companies have stopped.

"Given this situation, I don't think Premier Wen Jiabao is going to raise the issue with the German side," Kong said.

The two sides can have further contacts if they consider the cooperative project mutually beneficial and want to continue the project, but the contacts must be fair and transparent, Kong said.

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said he had taken note "with interest" of the Chinese statement but could not comment further.

Wen is scheduled to travel to Germany early next month in a trip to five European countries.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced during a visit to China in December that German authorities were considering approving the sale of equipment from the plant in Hanau in western Germany, and indicated that he had no objections.

The Siemens-owned plant, which never opened, was designed to convert plutonium to mixed-oxide, or MOX, a fuel for nuclear power plants.

(Shanghai Daily)

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