The Trump administration discussed the first U.S. nuclear test in decades

Washington—The Trump administration has discussed whether to carry out the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992, a move that will have a profound impact on relations with other nuclear powers and reverse this type of decades. Action suspension order.

Last Friday, the case was raised at a meeting of senior officials representing senior national security agencies, after government officials accused Russia and China of conducting low-yield nuclear tests—an assertion that was not confirmed by public evidence, and the two All countries have denied this claim.

A senior administrative official, like everyone else, described sensitive nuclear discussions anonymously. He said it was a demonstration in Moscow and Beijing. From a negotiating point of view, the United States could "quickly test" what might prove to be useful

The meeting did not reach any agreement to test, but the meeting did not reach consensus at the end, but a senior government official in Washington said that the The proposal is "going on." However, another person familiar with the meeting said that the final decision was to take other measures against the threats from Russia and China to avoid resuming the test.

The National Security Council declined to comment.

Two people familiar with the discussion said that at this meeting, people had serious differences on the idea, especially in the National Nuclear Security Administration (National Nuclear Security Administration). NNSA, the agency that ensures the safety of the national nuclear weapons storage, did not respond to requests for comment.

The United States has not conducted nuclear test explosions since September 1992, and nuclear non-proliferation advocates warned

“This will invite other nuclear weapon states to follow suit,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association . "This will be the starting gun for an unprecedented nuclear arms race. You will also disrupt negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who may no longer feel compelled to suspend nuclear testing."

United States It is still the only country deploying nuclear weapons in wartime, but more than eight countries have conducted more than 8,000 nuclear tests since 1945.

The consequences of nuclear tests related to the environment and health pushed this process underground, eventually leading to the suspension of South Korea testing in almost all countries except North Korea in this century. Concerns about the dangers of testing have prompted more than 184 countries to sign the Nuclear Tests and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which will not take effect until eight major countries, including the United States, ratify it.

President Barack Obama supported the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 2009, but never achieved his goal. The Trump administration stated that it will not seek approval in its 2018 Nuclear Posture Assessment.

Despite this, the major nuclear powers still abide by their core ban on testing. However, the United States has claimed in recent months that Russia and China have violated the "zero production" standard and conducted extremely low production or underground tests, rather than the type of multi-kilogram production test of mushroom-shaped clouds associated with the Cold War. Russia and China have denied this allegation.

Since the test was suspended in the early 1990s, the United States has ensured that it is ready to deploy nuclear weapons by conducting so-called subcritical tests (that is, explosions that do not produce explosions). The nuclear chain reacts, but the components of the weapon can be tested.

The US nuclear weapons facility has also developed powerful computer simulation technology that can model nuclear tests to ensure that Arsenal is ready for deployment.

The main purpose of nuclear testing has long been to check the reliability of existing arsenals or to try new weapon designs. Every year, senior US officials, including the head of the National Nuclear Laboratory and the commander of the US Strategic Command, must prove the safety and reliability of the inventory without conducting tests. The Trump administration has stated that unlike Russia and China, it has not sought new nuclear weapons, but reserves the right to negotiate their plans if the two countries refuse.

The discussion about the nuclear test explosion was when the Trump administration was about to leave the Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force in 2002 and has a 30-year history, designed to pass agreements that allow 34 countries / regions Conduct mutual reconnaissance flights to reduce the chance of unexpected wars.

The planned withdrawal marked another example of the erosion of the global arms control framework. Washington and Moscow began to spare no effort in bargaining during the Cold War. The Trump administration withdrew from Moscow ’s violations and withdrew from the 1987 treaty with Russia to manage medium-range missiles, and withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, saying that Tehran did not live up to its spirit.

The remaining pillar of the arms control framework between the United States and Russia is the new START agreement, which restricts strategic nuclear platforms.

The Trump administration has been working hard to negotiate a follow-up agreement, which includes China and Russia, but so far, China has refused to call for talks.

President Trump ’s arms control envoy Marshall Billingsley warned that China is the “middle” of the large-scale construction of its nuclear arsenal and “intends to build its nuclear power”

An American official said Nuclear tests may help force China to join the trilateral agreement with the United States and use these forces to intimidate the United States and our friends and allies. In the United States and Russia, some non-proliferation advocates say the move is risky.

"If the current government believes that nuclear test explosions and nuclear marginalization will force negotiating partners to make unilateral concessions, that would be a dangerous practice," Kimball said.

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