Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, August 14, 2003

US Plots to Develop Small Nukes

The US Department of Defense and military scientists held a secret meeting, which focused on how to develop and use the new-generation small nuclear weapon system. Analysts therefore held that this very important meeting would mark the beginning of a second era of nuclear weapons.


Secret meeting
The two-day secret meeting, which was attended by senior officials from the US Department of Defense and military scientists, was concluded at the headquarters of the US Strategic Air Force Command in the vicinity of Omaha city in Nebraska State on August 8. According to a report from the Associated Press, the meeting was centered around how to develop and use the new-generation small nuclear weapon system, analyzing the report which put forward the "new concept of much smaller, more effective special nuclear weapons", and reiterating the stance that only by developing new nuclear weapons can the United States maintain its powerful deterrent. Many analysts therefore held that this very important meeting would mark the beginning of a second era of nuclear weapons.

A spokesman for the Pentagon revealed days ago that the meeting was attended by about 150 ranking officials from the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration��the US Commission on National Security, the US Air Force as well as the US Strategic Command.

The Pentagon didn't release details of the meeting, but according to the Washington-based Arms Control Association, at the meeting a special committee discussed "problems of low-yield nuclear weapons, earth penetrating weapons, high radiation weapons and agent-ineffective weapons, and tests for developing the afore-mentioned weapons".

The Bush Administration once required the Congress to approve the feasibility study of building new-type low-yield nuclear weapons and improving existing high-yield nuclear weapons so as to destroy enemies' underground bunkers and biochemical arsenals. In this sense, the above-said secret meeting is considered as a crucial step towards building new nuclear weapons and resuming nuclear tests.
Long premeditated plan
As a matter of fact, the plan to develop small nuclear weapons is long premeditated. As early as January of last year, some senior officials and seasoned experts in nuclear weapons held a seminar on problems related to the development of small nuclear weapons at the Pentagon. A summary of the seminar disclosed by the local media claimed that the United States was ready to develop a type of nuclear weapon that would reduce indirect damages. Such small nuclear weapons shoulder major responsibilities to destroy enemies' underground bunkers thought to be stocking biochemical or nuclear weapons.

The American media then analyzed that the holding of the seminar reflected the government's new thinking. That is to say, America's adversaries will be deterred by the probable use of more flexible nuclear weapons even if they don't believe the United States will use large nuclear weapons.

Later, on May 20 the US Senate agreed to lift the ban on developing low-yield nuclear weapons, which had been in effect for 10 years.
Wide criticism
Analysis held that if the plan on developing small nuclear weapons were carried out, it would exert great impact on the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty), for the treaty aims to restrict the development and test of new-type nuclear weapons conducted by related countries. Countering the criticism from the media, the US State Secretary Colin Powell explained at a pres conference on August 7 that although his country does not promise to end nuclear tests permanently, it has no plan to resume nuclear tests at present. Powell was quoted as saying that so far "The President has no intention of resuming nuclear tests, and there is no need for us to do so." The US Department of Defense also said that such weapons are still in a stage of conception.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, criticized, "This is a meeting held by nuclear war maniacs. The meeting about the US nuclear strategy sponsored by the Pentagon indicates that the country is making major but detailed adjustments to the nuclear policy in a clandestine way.

Personages who are against this meeting also said that to develop small nuclear weapons will "make the nuclear proliferation problem become graver and even get out of hand." The Washington-based anti-nuclear non-governmental organization, "Physicians for Social Responsibility", held that these small nuclear weapons, once stolen and used by terrorists to counter the United States and its allies, may cause serious consequences.

By PD Online Staff Zhu lizhen

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