The Chinese leadership has pulled up Wang Qun, its lead negotiator and director general of the arms control division at the foreign ministry, for failing to drum up significant global support for China's position in Seoul which blocked India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
According to sources, Wang Qun had told Beijing that at least one third of the NSG nations would endorse China's position. However, it turned out that as many as 44 nations backed India with China only having the support of four nations.
Beijing now fears that the fallout of the NSG outcome could have an impact on a crucial verdict expected soon from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in a case brought by the Philippines concerning China's territorial reclamation activities in the South China Sea. If the judgment goes against China, which when enforced, could force the country to give up land in favour of the Philippines.
China has launched a worldwide propaganda campaign enlisting academics, legal experts, diplomats and foreign governments stating that such legal proceedings are invalid, which is contrary to the rules laid out by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of which China is a signatory.
China claims that it has the support of 60 nations who believe that arbitration at The Hague is illegal.
Sources said that the global support for India's position at the NSG could well be leveraged by New Delhi to back the enforcement of The Hague judgment - a scenario which could isolate China and even trigger its exit from UNCLOS.
China's worry now is that post its inability to generate global support for its anti-India position on NSG at Seoul, its position at the PCA could meet the same fate. The government had thought that its emerging superpower status would guarantee the support of at least 15 nations against India.
Sources said China is "very sensitive" to possibilities of being isolated, and the developments and outcome at Seoul "came quite close to isolation", adding that China is silently bracing itself for a fallout which could mean an overwhelming International demand on Beijing to accept The Hague court's Judgment and give land to The Philippines.