U.S.: Pakistan May Have More Tests

By John Diamond
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, May 28, 1998; 6:29 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even as the Clinton administration rushed to impose sanctions on Pakistan for testing nuclear weapons Thursday, U.S. intelligence reported new Pakistani preparations for additional tests.

U.S. spy satellites surveying a second test site in Pakistan saw signs of the same kind of activity spotted 48 hours before Thursday's underground test blasts in a remote corner of Western Pakistan, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Spy satellite imagery showed truck and other heavy vehicle traffic, test equipment, possible drilling activity for the hole in which a nuclear device would be placed, and telltale cement mixers to seal up the hole before a blast. The official did not name the second test site.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Kenneth Bacon, asked about signs indication potential for additional Pakistani tests, said, ``We're looking at a number of possible sites to monitor what was going on there, but I can't get into any greater detail at this stage.''

The government in Islamabad announced five test blasts were conducted Thursday, the same number conducted two weeks ago by India. Additional tests by Pakistan might prompt a response in kind by India, some officials believe.

President Clinton said at the White House that Pakistan, like India before it, will face economic sanctions.

``Two wrongs don't make a right,'' he said.

The sanctions order was imminent, said spokesman Mike McCurry.

With the administration having failed to persuade the two longtime enemies to refrain from testing, U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson said, ``We're going to be consulting in the days ahead on the appropriate response.'' But the United States so far has failed to generate much European support for punishing India and Pakistan.

Clinton acknowledged that without ``determined efforts'' a new arms race in Asia now appears possible, a defeat for U.S. foreign policy.

``I cannot believe we are about to start the 21st century by having the Indian subcontinent repeat the worst mistakes of the 20th century when we know it is not necessary to peace, to security, to prosperity, to national greatness or personal fulfillment,'' Clinton said.

The nuclear tension in the region also threatens a cherished administration goal, ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a pact that cannot take effect if India and Pakistan continue their refusal to sign. And outside observers said the flurry of tests could lead Iran and Iraq to press ahead with their nuclear programs.

``Our nonproliferation policies are in tatters,'' said Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., chairman of the House International Relations subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. ``We now need to re-engage more effectively with both Pakistan and India to assist in defusing a very intense situation.''

U.S. intelligence, harshly criticized for failing to warn of India's tests, was monitoring the ongoing border clashes between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region, focus of three wars between the two countries since 1947. U.S. spy satellites were also watching for signs that the two countries may conduct more nuclear tests.

The CIA was unable to confirm that Pakistan actually touched off five nuclear devices because some may have gone off simultaneously. The agency told policy-makers that Pakistan might have claimed five tests simply to match India's number. The weapons appear to have been nuclear fission weapons, not the more powerful thermonuclear devices or ``boosted'' weapons that India claims to have tested.

Intelligence reports to the White House did confirm Pakistani claims that it could mount a nuclear warhead atop a medium-range Ghauri missile, which has a range of 900 miles and can reach most of India.

India is not as far along in developing a weapon that can be placed atop a missile, according to one U.S. official.

But if that hurdle can be surmounted, India has tested the Agni missile, which has a range of up to 1,500 miles. India can also deliver nuclear weapons from Jaguar and MiG-27 fighter jets, according to the Federation of American Scientists, an intelligence watchdog group. Pakistan has A-5, Mirage and F-16 fighters that could be used to deliver a nuclear weapon.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who opposes ratification of the test ban treaty, said the Indian and Pakistani tests show ``that these kinds of treaties have no impact whatsoever. ... Does anybody believe that such a treaty would prevent Iran from moving forward?''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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