President Clinton said Wednesday the rival nuclear testing by India and Pakistan is "self-defeating, wasteful and dangerous." He promised to work with them for peace in the region and with the world community to force an end to their arms race.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the nuclear tests are an immediate threat to international peace and security.She said there must be no further tests of nuclear devices or missiles to launch them, no military provocations in south Asia and no more "inflammatory rhetoric" from the two capitals.
Clinton and Albright conferred before she flew to Geneva for a conference with the foreign ministers of the five major nuclear powers, who also are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
The president said the United States would work in that forum and others to press India and Pakistan to stop.
In turn, he and the secretary of state urged the Senate to quickly approve the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. "If we're calling on other nations to act responsibly, America must set the example," he said.
They said China will play a vital role for peace in the region.
Clinton, heading there for a summit conference later this month, said the arms crisis in south Asia shows the importance of his embattled policy of U.S. engagement with Beijing.
"We want very much to work with both India and Pakistan to help them resolve their differences and to restore a future of hope, not fear," Clinton said.
"Right now," Albright said, "the most important thing both sides can do is to cool it, take a deep breath, and to begin to climb out of the hole they have dug themselves into."
An independent review panel examining U.S. intelligence-gathering in South Asia has found a broad array of systemic problems in the intelligence community that contributed to the CIA's failure to detect beforehand that India would test nuclear devices.
The problem was not so much a lack of money, since U.S. spy satellites sent back more photographs than analysts could handle. Rather, the panel found, the problem stemmed from organizational failings and a basic inability to grasp the political realities between two ancient enemies.