Leading nuclear candidate China has Xinjiang flaw

Leading nuclear candidate China has Xinjiang flaw

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Leading nuclear candidate China has Xinjiang flaw

EPA photo

China is the leading candidate in Turkey’s $20 billion dollar competition for the construction of a nuclear plant in Sinop, but the unrest among Uighurs in China’s autonomous Xinjiang region appears to be a weakness in the country’s ambitious bid.

In addition to China; Japan, South Korea and Canada are taking part in the competition for the nuclear power plant in the northern province of Sinop, with South Korea as the number two candidate, according to a source.
China has vast financing options and is extremely willing to make a huge nuclear bid in a Western nation, but the unrest with the Uighurs in its country is apparently hitting its chances for a deal.

The latest round of turmoil between the Turkic Uighur majority and the Han – meaning Chinese people – who are backed by the security forces, were the riots in the capital Urumqi that led to the deaths of hundreds of people in 2009.

“Xinjiang is the classical underbelly of China, especially in Turkey where there is sensitivity over the conditions of Uighurs,” said the source. “And given China’s rivalry with the United States for the control of energy throughout the world, Americans are also against the Chinese getting the enormous Turkish contract.”

South Korea, considered to be the runners-up, has quite an advantage in its bid for winning the Turkish deal. It has a good design and has negotiated in the past for the deal, but has a major disadvantage in its insistence on Turkish Treasury guarantees, which are strongly rejected by Turkey. In light of this, it is resorting to an unusual method to bolster its chances by asking for the investment power of the United Arab Emirates in seeking a joint deal.

“Neither the Koreans nor the Turks know how strong the UAE deal will be. If it is strong enough, the Korean-UAE deal will be the most promising, since the UAE government is a very close friend of the Turks,” the source said.

Among other rivals, Japan has lost its leading edge after the Fukushima disaster by announcing that it would cease nuclear operations due to the dangerous, earthquake-prone nature of its region. The Canadians, it has been suggested, cannot build at the high capacity of production required by Turkey.