under discussion
May 23, 2020

The Trump administration has discussed launching the United States' first nuclear weapons test since 1992 as a tactic in negotiations with China and Russia, The Washington Post reports.

One administration official speaking on condition of anonymity said the conversation is ongoing, while another person familiar with the situation said the White House — after some reportedly serious disagreements — has decided to take other measures in response to threats posed by Moscow and Beijing. The U.S. has accused the two countries of conducting low-yield nuclear tests and is seeking a trilateral deal to regulate their arsenals; Russia and China have both denied the assertions.

The news is troubling to nonproliferation advocates, who believe that it would actually encourage Moscow, Beijing, and other governments with nuclear arsenals to ramp up their own testing, rather than deter them. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association said U.S. testing could also "disrupt" negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even further. "It would be an invitation for other nuclear-armed countries to follow suit," said Kimball. "It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

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