Just over two weeks ago The Washington Post revealed that "the Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first US nuclear test explosion since 1992."
It was said to have been under serious discussion during a May 15 “deputies meeting” of senior national security officials at the White House - and though doesn't appear to currently be something seriously pursued - the possibility remains “very much an ongoing conversation,” according to a senior admin official.
While all eyes were initially on Russia's reaction, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has belatedly issued a response, warning Washington in a press briefing on Monday that it must abide by its international obligations and abandon any possible plans to carry out nuclear tests.
"We insist that the United States should strictly abide by its obligations to end nuclear testing… and we hope that it will listen to the international community," ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. "The US should abandon plans that could undermine global stability and strategic order," she added.
Emphasizing Beijing has repeatedly urged the US to honor its commitments, the top diplomat continued: "The US needs to contribute to international cooperation to ensure disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
However, the administration is sure to shrug off these words and hit back, given it's lately repeatedly accused China and Russia of 'illegally' conducting low-yield nuclear tests, which both countries have denied. In Beijing's case it's believed China's military is able to conceal such provocative tests at an elaborate underground testing facility.
There hasn't been an American nuclear test (that's officially known about at least) since 1992, upon the end of the Cold War and collapse of the USSR in the year prior. But there are signs we could all soon witness a new provocative test given landmark weapons treaties with Moscow are fast being shed, also as Trump might entertain using nuke tests as powerful "leverage" for desired negotiations "for a better deal" - as he's said in the past.
Trump envisions a three-way nuclear pact. China has other ideas https://t.co/ajRkKKIAWG— The Japan Times (@japantimes) June 2, 2020
All of this leaves the potential for a new global arms race centered on nukes, given at this point Beijing, Moscow, and Washington are already trading warnings to step back from the brink of nuclear testing.
Meanwhile Beijing has shown itself resistant to Trump's floating the idea of a new nuclear weapons pact involving China. He dumped the INF in part because it failed to take into a account developing Chinese missile technology and capabilities, according to admin officials.