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US to conduct nuclear test ‘within months’ if Trump orders: Pentagon

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An atomic cloud forms from the underwater Baker Day explosion over Marshall Islands’ Bikini lagoon in the Pacific Ocean, on July 25, 1946. (Photo by US National Archives)

A senior Pentagon official says the US could carry out a live nuclear test "within months" if President Donald Trump orders it.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters Drew said “geopolitical issues” – presumably referring to Moscow and Beijing – could prompt the order, and that could change “rapidly.”

“If the president directed – because of a technical issue or a geopolitical issue – the system to go test, I think it would happen relatively rapidly,” Walter said.

The Washington Post reported late last week that the United States is planning to conduct a nuclear test as the Trump administration backtracks on US treaties to reduce nuclear arms, reigniting a dangerous and new Cold War.

Top national security officials of the Trump administration discussed performing the US’ first nuclear test since 1992 at a meeting last Friday.

A senior official told the paper that a US "rapid test" could offer leverage in arms negotiations with Russia and China as the White House pushes for a trilateral arms control deal.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told The Post that, "It would be an invitation for other nuclear-armed countries to follow suit."

The reported talks over the US nuclear test comes as the New START treaty, a nuclear arms control pact which limits the number of strategic nuclear weapons the US and Russia can deploy, is set to expire in February 2021.

Russia has signaled willingness to renew the agreement, but the US has dragged its feet, insisting on negotiating a new treaty that would include China, Russia's RT news network says.

The US and Russia signed the New START accord in 2010 and agreed to reduce the number of strategic nuclear missiles by half and restrict the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.

Last week, Trump's arms control negotiator Marshall Billingslea threatened that the US could spend any adversary “into oblivion,” deeming it a “tried and true” strategy.

“We know how to win these (nuclear arms) races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion," Billingslea said in an online presentation to a Washington think tank

Billingslea plans to meet with his Russian counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to discuss a new US proposal for an accord to limit all Russian, Chinese and US nuclear warheads, according to US officials.

The US is the only country in the world that has ever used a nuclear weapon during wartime. Since the US bombings of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, at least eight countries have collectively conducted about 2,000 nuclear tests.

Of these tests, the US conducted over 1,000 nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and 1992, and 216 of them were above ground.

In conducting explosive nuclear tests, the US government killed thousands of innocent people and sickened untold thousands more.

Radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing spread across the United States, including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Guam.


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