News



DATE=5/12/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232052
TITLE=INDIA / NUCLEAR / PACIFIC RIM REACT (L)
BYLINE=GARY THOMAS
DATELINE=BANGKOK
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  ASIAN AND PACIFIC NATIONS REACTED SHARPLY TO INDIA'S 
NUCLEAR WEAPONS TESTING.  AS V-O-A CORRESPONDENT GARY THOMAS 
REPORTS FROM OUR SOUTHEAST ASIA BUREAU, THE REACTION HAS BEEN 
CONDEMNATION MIXED WITH CONCERN.

TEXT:  INDIA'S SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT OF NUCLEAR TESTING SPARKED A
SHARP REACTION IN EAST ASIA , A REGION THAT HAS BEEN 
SUBJECTED TO BOTH NUCLEAR TESTS AND THE ONLY ACTUAL USE OF 
NUCLEAR WEAPONS. 

JAPAN, THE ONLY NATION TO EVER SUFFER A NUCLEAR ATTACK, CALLED ON
INDIA TO HALT ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM AND URGED OTHER COUNTRIES TO 
EXERCISE SELF-RESTRAINT, SO AS  NOT  TO HARM REGIONAL STABILITY. 
IT SAYS IT IS REVIEWING ITS ASSISTANCE TO INDIA AND IS 
CONSIDERING ECONOMIC SANCTIONS.  JAPAN IS INDIA'S BIGGEST 
BILATERAL DONOR WITH DIRECT GRANTS, LOANS, AND TECHNICAL 
ASSISTANCE.  JAPAN SLAPPED A TEMPORARY HALT IN GRANT AID TO CHINA
WHEN BEIJING CONDUCTED ITS OWN NUCLEAR TESTS IN 1995.  


AUSTRALIA AND NEIGHBORING NEW ZEALAND BOTH OFFERED SHARP 
CONDEMNATION AND RECALLED THEIR AMBASSADORS FOR CONSULTATIONS.

NEW ZEALAND FOREIGN MINISTER DON MCKINNON CALLED IN THE INDIAN 
AMBASSADOR TO PROTEST INDIA'S ACTION, CALLING IT A "GROSS INSULT 
TO THE REST OF THE WORLD."

IN A TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH V-O-A, MR. MCKINNON 
ADMITTED HIS GOVERNMENT, LIKE MANY OTHERS, WAS CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
BY THE INDIAN ACTION.

                   /// FIRST MCKINNON ACT ///

         WE DID TAKE THE VIEW THAT MOST PEOPLE TOOK THAT WHILST 
         INDIA  NOT  SIGNING THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY, 
         WASN'T REALLY GOING TO GET INVOLVED IN A TESTING 
         PROGRAM, EVEN THOUGH I'M PREPARED TO ADMIT THAT WE KNEW 
         IT WAS IN THE MANIFESTO OF THE POLITICAL PARTY THAT IS 
         NOW DOMINANT IN THE PARLIAMENT.  SO, OBVIOUSLY, WE 
         DIDN'T TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. BUT THEY HAVE PUT 
         THEMSELVES OFFSIDE WITH PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD. 

                /// END ACT ///   

MR. MCKINNON EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT THE INDIAN TESTS' 
IMPLICATIONS FOR REGIONAL SECURITY IN SOUTH ASIA, SAYING THAT 
PAKISTAN WILL FEEL IT MUST RESPOND, WHICH COULD TRIGGER A NEW 
ARMS RACE IN SOUTH ASIA.

                   /// SECOND MCKINNON ACT ///

         WELL, THAT IS OUR CONCERN.  IF PAKISTAN WERE TO DETONATE
         A DEVICE, THAT PUTS PRESSURE ON BOTH CHINA AND RUSSIA.  
         I THINK IT'S RATHER UNUSUAL THAT INDIA SHOULD SAY, 'WE 
         DON'T PLAN TO DO ANY MORE TESTING IF NO ONE 
         RECIPROCATES.'  SO, IN OTHER WORDS, I'LL HIT YOU IN THE 
         NOSE, AND AS LONG AS YOU DON'T HIT ME IN THE NOSE, I 
         WON'T HIT YOU IN THE NOSE AGAIN.

                         /// END ACT ///

NEW ZEALAND HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST VOCAL PROPONENTS
OF A NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA.  IT BECAME EMBROILED IN
A DISPUTE WITH THE UNITED STATES OVER THE PRESENCE OF U-S 
WARSHIPS WITH  NUCLEAR CAPABILITY IN ITS WATERS, AND RAISED 
BITTER OBJECTIONS TO FRENCH NUCLEAR TESTING IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC.


MR. MCKINNON ADDS THAT THE NEW TESTS ARE A BLOW TO WINNING MORE 
SIGNATORIES TO THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY.

              /// THIRD MCKINNON ACT ///

          IT SLOWS PROGRESS BECAUSE IMMEDIATELY YOU CREATE 
         UNCERTAINTY IN THE WORLD.  THERE WILL BE BODIES OF 
         OPINION WITHIN PAKISTAN, WITHIN CHINA, EVEN WITHIN 
         RUSSIA, WHO WILL NOW SAY WE TOLD YOU SO, WE SHOULD  NOT 
         BE DISARMING, WE SHOULD CONTINUE TESTING, WE SHOULD 
         MAINTAIN OUR STATUS AS A NUCLEAR POWER, WE SHOULD BE 
         BUILDING UP A NUCLEAR ARSENAL. AND THAT OF COURSE ALWAYS
         CREATES SOME DOMESTIC FOLLOWING.  IT WILL JUST TAKE A 
         LONG TIME TO GET BACK TO WHERE WE WERE YESTERDAY, WHEN, 
         SLOWLY BUT SURELY, NATIONS WERE AGREEING TO 
         NONPROLIFERATION, AND THERE WAS A MOVE TOWARDS WEAPONS 
         REDUCTION, WEAPON DESTRUCTION.

                /// END ACT ///   

INDIA HAS REFUSED TO SIGN THE TREATY, CALLING IT DISCRIMINATORY 
BECAUSE IT BARS COUNTRIES LIKE INDIA FROM HAVING NUCLEAR WEAPONS 
WHILE ALLOWING POWERS LIKE THE UNITED STATES TO KEEP THEM.   
(SIGNED)

NEB/GPT/FC/WTW



12-May-98 6:59 AM EDT (1059 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
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