NZ warns France over new nuclear tests

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WELLINGTON (AFP) - Any resumption of French nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll will make South Pacific nations angry, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, warned. 'They will see it as the arrogance of a distant power, that is how it will be interpreted,' he said yesterday.

France suspended its nuclear programme in April to encourage other nuclear powers to follow suit. But Britain and the United States rejected the offer and China replied in June by exploding one of its biggest devices. At the weekend, Jean Lichere, head of the military applications section of France's Atomic Energy Commission, suggested that the tests might resume.

Mr Bolger said the Foreign Minister, Don McKinnon, had protested to France. He said New Zealand and the South Pacific Forum could see 'absolutely no justification' for testing to resume.