No More Nukes?

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GENEVA: After China's underground nuclear test and pledge Monday to join an international moratorium on future tests, India remains the only real obstacle to the success of this week's Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations in Geneva. China confirmed Monday that it had completed a final, successful test at its remote Lop Nor site, but offered no details. China becomes the last of the five known nuclear powers to end live testing of nuclear devices. Reports TIME's Robert Kroon from Geneva: "China is more or less in line now with the rest of the world and theoretically, if we're lucky, this could be the last test blast in the world." It's a tantalizingly realistic hope. China has voiced reservations about the treaty's strict inspection language, but Beijing may well decide it's not worth risking the integrity of the carefully constructed document over the issue. Kroon notes that the current treaty was written during two years of sometimes tense negotiations, and has been carefully balanced to be acceptable to almost every party. Only India, which demands a commitment to disarmament from the world's other nuclear powers, finds serious flaws with the treaty. Says Kroon: "India is virtually alone in this. In addition to pressure from the Club of Five, India is under pressure from Asian nations and the Third World to sign on." Terence Nelan