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China May Have 'secretly' Set Off Low-level Nuclear Test Blasts, Says US

The United States said that China may have secretly set off low-level underground nuclear test explosions violating the adherence to “zero-yield” standard.

China

The United States said that China may have secretly set off low-level underground nuclear test explosions violating the adherence to “zero-yield” standard. In the executive summary of the Compliance Report, the US State Department said that China maintained a high level of activity at its Lop Nur nuclear weapons test site throughout 2019.

Without providing evidence of a low-yield nuclear test, the report hinted at China’s possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site year-round. The State Department said that the use of explosive containment chambers, extensive excavation activities, and lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities raise concerns regarding China’s adherence to the “zero yield” standard.

The executive summary report accused China of frequently blocking the flow of data from its International Monitoring System (IMS) stations to the International Data Center operated by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation. 

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Missile commitments

On the issue of adherence to missile commitments and assurances, the department said that China failed to adhere to its November 2020 commitment to the US. It had committed to not assist “in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons”.

“This failure to adhere to its November 2000 commitment is reflected in Chinese entities’ continued supply of items to missile programs of proliferation concern,” said the department in its report.

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The United States further said that it does not have sufficient information to determine whether China eliminated its assessed biological warfare (BW) program, as required under Article II of Biological Weapons Convention. It added that the issue of compliance by China with the BWC has been of concern for many years.

“The United States continues to note that the voluntary BWC CBM declarations China has submitted have neither documented that offensive program, nor documented that China has eliminated the program or any remaining biological munitions,” the report concluded.

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