WASHINGTON A prominent American newspaper Thursday described as hypocritical Obama administrations objection to a civilian nuclear deal between Pakistan and China, saying that the US only last year sealed a deal to supply India with advanced nuclear equipment. In a news analysis, The Christian Science Monitor said the administration would have problem calling for a halt to the intended sale while preserving relations with two crucial partners, China and Pakistan. The China-Pakistan deal will come up next week when the 46-country Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meets in New Zealand. The US will argue - somewhat uncomfortably, given the US-India deal - that the proposed sale to Pakistan violates the international bodys standards, the Monitor said. China is expected to counter that what would be a lucrative deal for one of its state-owned companies should be grand fathered because the two reactors are part of a deal that actually predates Chinas 2004 membership in the NSG, which monitors nuclear transactions. In Beijing on Thursday, a Chinese government spokesman defended the deal with Pakistan, saying, It is for peaceful purposes, and is under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Earlier, Obama administration officials tried to put diplomatic dressing on US opposition to the sale. We have asked China to clarify the details of its sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan, said State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, at a briefing Tuesday. The US does not buy the Chinese argument that this sale should be considered part of a preexisting deal with Pakistan, he added. This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. On Monday, State Department spokesman Gordon DuGuid said the US expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese non-proliferation obligations. As a signatory to the NSG, China would appear to be violating international guidelines against selling nuclear materials to a non-signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Like India, Pakistan has never joined the NPT. The US stance is thus that China would require an exemption from the NSG to complete the two-reactor sale - a hard-won nod the US achieved for the India deal, but one US officials doubt would be forthcoming from the group in the China-Pakistan case, the Monitor said. We believe that such [China-Pakistan] cooperation would require a specific exemption approved by consensus of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as was done for India, Crowley said, adding that the US is seeking to apply the same test of international scrutiny as was required for the US-India deal. Were not looking at any difference between the two. But some nuclear non-proliferation experts told the newspaper that the US opened the door to deals like Chinas by pursuing a deal with India that will provide nuclear materials and technology to a country that is a non-signatory of the NPT and thus outside international inspection requirements. Two wrongs make a wrong, but it was to be expected once we made the case for an exemption [for the US-India deal], Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Centre in Washington, was quoted as saying. China may very well see the controversy coming and move to put off any discussion of the sale at the NSG, Sokolski said. US officials have told him that China is now expected to say the deal is still in negotiations, making any NSG discussion premature. But Sokolski says that sooner or later the US, which wants Chinas cooperation on other issues like Iran, will still be faced with the repercussions of the US-India nuclear agreement.