China said on Monday it was “extremely concerned” by a report that Japan has resisted returning to the United States more than 300kg of mostly weapons-grade plutonium, the latest dispute between the two Asian neighbours.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency said that Washington had pressed Japan to give back the nuclear material which could be used to make up to 50 nuclear bombs. Japan had resisted, but finally given in to US demands, it added.
The material was bought for research purposes during the 1960s and the two governments will likely reach an official agreement on its return at the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague in March, an official at Japan’s Education Ministry said.
China is involved in a bitter territorial dispute with Japan and has warned Japan is trying to re-arm.
“China believes that Japan, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, ought to rigorously respect its international commitments to nuclear safety and non-proliferation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.
Full article: China concerned by reports of Japan holding weapons-grade plutonium (South China Morning Post)