Nuclear Agreement:

Cooperation Between the United States and the People's Republic of China

NSIAD-86-21BR: Published: Nov 27, 1985. Publicly Released: Nov 27, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the proposed Agreement for Cooperation between the United States and the People's Republic of China concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to identify whether potential problems might arise because of the agreement's vague language and undefined terms.

GAO found that the bill which the Senate passed proposing clarifications to certain aspects of the agreement would: (1) substantially change the conditions under which China would enter into the agreement; and (2) adversely affect the implementation of the agreement. Although the language differs from other nuclear cooperative agreements, the changes represent a departure from the long-standing U.S. practice of encouraging more stringent controls over the use of U.S. nuclear exports. GAO believes that the proposed joint resolution would be more acceptable to China since it would require action from the President rather than the China; however, neither the bill nor the resolution would correct the agreement's unclear wording, which may lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

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