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Tuesday, May 12, 1998 Published at 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK


World concern at nuclear tests
image: [ Japanese environmentalists:
Japanese environmentalists: "Nothing more dangerous than nuclear arms"

China says it is seriously concerned at India's conducting of three underground nuclear tests, saying it will hamper world peace and regional stability.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the tests ran counter to progress that had been made in reducing nuclear arms.

"India's conducting of nuclear test runs against international trend and is detrimental to the peace and stability of the South-Asian region," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bang-Zao.

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin: We are deeply disturbed by this (0'37")
The ministry gave no indication that China intended to reconsider its own decision to stop nuclear testing in 1996.

[ image: Japanese foreign minister: India's tests threat regional stability]
Japanese foreign minister: India's tests threat regional stability
India's largest donor Japan has condemned the tests with some ministers calling for a suspension of economic aid.

"The tests ran counter to the international ban on nuclear testing and pose a threat to regional stability. Japan cannot help but consider taking action to curb economic co-operation," said the Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto sees the tests as very regrettable.

"I sent a letter to the Indian Prime Minister on March 31 urging his government not to conduct nuclear testing. There has been no reply," Mr Hashimoto said.

Bangladesh has pointed out that a nuclear arms race is not desirable in the interests of the poor people in the region.

"We should all move forward for peace in the entire region. Poverty, illiteracy and human resource development warrant more attention, and we still hope that all countries will pay attention to this," said Minister of State Abul Hasan Chowdhury Kaiser.

[ image: Spokesman McCurry: tests fly in face of efforts for global ban]
Spokesman McCurry: tests fly in face of efforts for global ban
The United States has said it will implement tough measures against India in response to its nuclear tests. President Clinton said the measures would be taken under American laws governing nuclear tests by non-nuclear countries.

White House spokesman Michael McCurry said India's tests have made international efforts for a global nuclear test ban more difficult.

"While it was foreseen, given the electoral programme of the newly-elected party, that they might take this step, it still flies in the face of an international concensus about the need to promulgate and nurture the new regime on a comprehensive test ban," Mr McCurry said.

The US has also urged Pakistan not to respond with its own nuclear tests.

[ image: Yeltsin: India has let us down]
Yeltsin: India has let us down
President Boris Yeltsin of Russia has expressed disappointment but said diplomatic solutions must be found.

"India has let us down with this explosion, but I think that through diplomatic efforts and a visit we should get them to change their position," Mr Yeltsin said.

Earlier, First Deputy Atomic Energy Minister, Viktor Mikhailov, said Moscow "deeply regretted" India's tests, warning that it could lead to a new arms race in the region.

Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said Canada was concerned and very disappointed.

"The test blasts could have grave implications for global non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and can only weaken regional security," Mr Axworthy said.

Australia said it would lodge a strong diplomatic protest with India and recall its top diplomat from New Delhi.

"The important thing is that we take measures that just aren't symbolic, that are going to be effective in stopping India continuing with this programme," said the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

UN Spokesman Abdul Quadeer Khan: Secretary-General calls for maximum restraint (0'20")
Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jenny Shipley, said she viewed Monday's tests with deep alarm.

"At a time when the world was really filled with hope. That we were seeing the end of the nuclear arms race, that dream has been shattered by India. We have to make it very clear the world will not tolerate a new nuclear arms race in Asia."

New Zealand's High Commissioner is being recalled from New Delhi for consultations.

France, which conducted its own "final" series of nuclear tests in 1995-96, said it is not in a position to teach India a lesson.

"Having said that, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is going to be signed by most of the great developed countries, and I would of course approve of India signing it too," said the French Environment Minister Dominique Voynet.

In its role as current president of the European Union, Britain has expressed its dismay at the India tests. The implications of the tests would be discussed at a "political committee" meeting of member states on May 12.

Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel of Germany called the tests "a slap in the face" of the 149 countries which have signed the CTBT.

Development Aid Minister Carl-Dieter Spranger has cancelled German government negotiations with India scheduled for Tuesday.

Denmark has frozen its aid to India, currently worth $28.2m. Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen said he "deeply deplored" India's action warning that it would have negative effects on international help to develop the country.

The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan echoed the call for "maximum restraint" in the region, saying the tests were "inconsistent with the pattern that has been firmly endorsed by the international community."

In Vienna, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Organisation described the tests as a "sad development for the international community."


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