torsdag 16. april 2020

China may have conducted low-level nuclear test, US report claims

The US state department has claimed China may have secretly conducted a low-yield underground nuclear test, in an accusation likely to further inflame already poor relations between Washington and Beijing.

A report on arms control compliance does not offer proof, but points to circumstantial evidence, of excavations and other stepped-up activity at China’s Lop Nur test site.

“China’s possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site year-round, its use of explosive containment chambers, extensive excavation activities at Lop Nur and a lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities ... raise concerns regarding its adherence to the zero yield standard,” the state department report, first revealed by the Wall Street Journal, said.Both the US and China signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), concluded in 1996, but neither country has ratified it, and – partly as a result – the agreement has not come into force. However, China has sworn to adhere to CTBT terms and the US has been observing a moratorium on nuclear testing.

If the treaty were in force, it would include a mechanism for on-site inspections of suspect sites.