China's nuclear test blast draws criticism

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Peking - China, ignoring appeals for a moratorium on nuclear testing, set off its second test blast in four months yesterday. The underground explosion, announced by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, was immediately criticised by the country's neighbours and other nations.

China's official announcement gave no details of the test. But it repeated the government's assertion that China had exercised restraint in testing. The statement reaffirmed support for international efforts to ban nuclear weapons and for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty. An Australian seismological centre said that it had recorded data consistent with a medium-to- large nuclear explosion at China's underground nuclear testing facility at Lop Nor, in the western region of Xinjiang.

In Vienna, International Atomic Energy Agency officials said the test was unlikely to derail negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty and that China was not breaking any rules by carrying out the blast. Reuter