The US has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992, however reports across the Atlantic suggest senior officials in the Trump administration have floated the idea of a nuclear programme to increase pressure on China and Russia. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing is “gravely concerned about this internal discussion in the US administration on resuming nuclear tests”.
Ms Chunying cited the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test–Ban Treaty (CTBT) – a multilateral agreement signed in 1996 which bans nuclear explosions in all environments
Ms Chunying also urged the US to work towards and “nuclear disarmament” and against “undermining global strategic stability”.
She said: “The CTBT, which sets out international norms in prohibiting nuclear tests, serves as an important pillar of the international nuclear arms control system and is of great significance in promoting nuclear disarmament, prohibiting nuclear proliferation and upholding world peace and security.
“We also hope that the US side will heed the call from the international community and contribute to safeguarding the international nuclear disarmament and international non-proliferation regime.
“It should take no more steps down the wrong path of undermining global strategic stability.”
Mr Trump has not spoken publicly on nuclear testing, however reports first emerged out of the White House last month.
The Washington Post reports a senior administration official and two former officials, have put forward plans to enter a more restrictive New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the China and Russia.
The Treaty due to expire in February 2021, initially limits the ability to develop nuclear weapons but has since put limitations on ballistic missiles and warheads.
In May Drew Walter, from the US Department of Defense, further fuelled speculation of a future nuclear programme.
Mr Walter, who is performing the duties of deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear matters, claimed previous National Nuclear Security Agency heads have discussed “a very quick test with limited diagnostics, though certainly diagnostics, within months”.
The US President has also held discussion with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un over ending its nuclear programme – however last year talks broke down.
On Monday the US Special Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea confirmed the US and Russia have agreed to hold nuclear arms negotiations later this month.
The US official also confirmed representatives from China have also been invited to the crucial summit.
Marshall Billingslea wrote on Twitter: “Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June.
“China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?”