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Biden calls Trump nuclear testing discussion reckless, dangerous

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is seen at War Memorial Plaza during Memorial Day, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Castle, Delaware, U.S. May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden described reported discussions by the Trump administration over whether to conduct a nuclear weapons test as reckless on Thursday, saying it could spur other countries to follow a dangerous U.S. lead.

Republican President Donald Trump’s administration considered whether to conduct its first nuclear test explosion since 1992, The Washington Post reported late on Friday, citing a senior official and two former officials familiar with the talks.

The meeting did not conclude with any agreement to conduct a nuclear test, and a decision was ultimately made to take other measures in response to threats posed by Russia and China, the report said.

“The possibility that the Trump administration may resume nuclear explosive weapons testing in Nevada is as reckless as it is dangerous. We have not tested a device since 1992; we don’t need to do so now,” Biden said in a statement.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United States has been concerned that Russia and China have been conducting tests. The State Department said in April China may have secretly set off low-level underground nuclear test explosions despite claiming to observe an international pact banning such blasts.

The former vice president said the possible resumption of such tests by the United States would not bring Moscow or Beijing to the negotiating table on a new arms control agreement

“This is delusional,” he said. “A resumption of testing is more likely to prompt other countries to resume militarily significant nuclear testing, and undermine our nuclear nonproliferation goals,” including those aimed at North Korea and Iran.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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