Red China: Fateful Firecracker

It was probably the most thoroughly anticipated explosion in history. For years Western experts had been predicting that the Chinese would perform the feat before long. Two weeks ago, Secretary of State Dean Rusk said so again. Last week, with consummate timing, less than a day after Nikita Khrushchev's downfall was announced, the Chinese finally did it. From a steel tower in the desert of western Sinkiang, north of the Himalayas, they exploded a crude nuclear device.

It had taken them 14 years, cost them more than $200 million and the talents of 1,800 scientists and engineers — all of...

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