Nearing An End To Nuclear Testing

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GENEVA: China has agreed to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty after reaching a compromise with the United States over the thorny issue of inspections. "What this means is that now the five nuclear powers, for the first time in 40 years, are agreed to put an end to all testing for all time," reports TIME's Robert Kroon from the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Only India still refuses to join the agreement. The Conference is expected to conclude its work next week. China promised it would sign onto the agreement after detonating a nuclear device at its Lop Nor facility in late July. The agreement had been held up by a dispute over authorization of on-site inspections in the case of a "suspicious" event, such as seismic readings indicative of a test. Wary of espionage, China wanted to require a two-thirds vote of a 51-nation commission to authorize an inspection, while the United States pushed for a simple majority. In a week and a half of secret negotiations, the two nations agreed to split the difference to require 30 votes, or about 59 percent of the commission.

India insists that the treaty include a commitment to nuclear disarmament, a quantum diplomatic leap other nuclear nations prefer to tackle later. The Indian Parliament says this only confirms the monopoly of the U.S, Russia, China, Britain and France Scot Woods.