DATE=10/20/1999 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=NUCLEAR TREATY-REACTION NUMBER=5-44564 BYLINE=ANDRE DE NESNERA DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Last week, the U-S Senate refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, dealing President Clinton a major foreign policy defeat. In this report from Washington, V-O-A National Security Correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the debate surrounding the treaty's rejection and the possible fallout, especially in southern Asia. TEXT: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty prohibits nations from carrying out nuclear explosions, including those to test nuclear weapons. In 1996, President Clinton signed the treaty and said getting Senate ratification was one of his administration's top foreign policy priorities. But last week, the Republican-dominated Senate rejected the treaty. This was the first time the upper house of Congress voted down an international pact since an isolationist Senate rejected the 1919 Versailles Treaty that included rules setting up the League of Nations. Opponents of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty said the pact was incompatible with U-S national security needs. They said the United States - which has stopped nuclear testing since 1992 - must be able to test its nuclear weapons to guarantee their reliability. Baker Spring - a nuclear expert with the conservative (Washington-based) Heritage Foundation says the treaty would have resulted in U-S nuclear disarmament. And he says Washington must maintain its nuclear deterrent. /// SPRING ACT /// The question is whether you can maintain that arsenal and that deterrent absent testing. And my judgment is you cannot because like any other sophisticated industrial product, nuclear weapons require testing in order to assure that they work. For example: an automobile. You are going to test it periodically to make sure that it works and you won't just do it by simulation. You would actually start the engine and drive the car and it is a similar analogy that we face in a more complex context regarding nuclear weapons. /// END ACT /// Those in favor of the Test Ban Treaty say nuclear weapons testing is not needed since a sophisticated computer simulation system can get the same results. And they reject the notion the treaty is unverifiable, saying the pact calls for creating an international monitoring system and on-site inspections. To enter into force, the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty must be ratified by 44 states named in an annex. These include Britain, France and Germany that have already ratified, and the United States, China, Russia, India and Pakistan - which have not. George Perkovich is a nuclear weapons expert and author of the recently published book, "India's Nuclear Bomb." He is afraid the Senate action may provoke a so-called "nuclear domino effect" - in essence giving some countries the green light to proceed with nuclear testing. Mr. Perkovich's first concern is with China. /// PERKOVICH ACT /// China agreed somewhat reluctantly to go along with the test ban treaty. It has conducted 45 nuclear tests compared to 1,030 for the United States. China is trying to modernize its nuclear arsenal. That would be much easier - and the military could do it with much greater confidence - if they could still conduct nuclear tests. And in fact, the best and perhaps the only way they could capitalize on the design information they acquired from the United States, would be to do the kind of tests that the Senate has now made permissible. And so I think there would be a temptation there. If China tests, then I think it almost inevitable that India would resume testing, which would then lead Pakistan to respond in kind. /// Opt /// Now from the other direction, India may find itself tempted to test whether or not China does, because - in part - the test ban agreement which was a moral if not yet a legal restraint in India: that has been waived away. And I think there are people in India who have an interest, perhaps, in resuming testing. /// End Opt /// /// END ACT /// In responding to the rejection of the test ban treaty, President Clinton said the United States will continue to abide by its 1992 moratorium on nuclear tests. Democrats say they will make the Senate rejection a top issue during the upcoming presidential campaign. And if elected president, Vice-President Al Gore says he will resubmit the treaty to the Senate for another consideration. (Signed) NEB/ADEN/JP 20-Oct-1999 15:47 PM EDT (20-Oct-1999 1947 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .