WHERE CHINA, FRANCE, AND THE US STAND

* Currently, all the declared nuclear powers are engaged in a de facto moratorium on nuclear tests, except China. China exploded a nuclear device as recently as June, but says that when its current testing series has ended, it will agree to a formal test ban treaty.

* French defense officials also want to set off a few more tests before agreeing to a test-ban pact. France is thought to be ready to set off a quick series of experiments at its testing grounds in the South Pacific if the country's political leaders approve.

* The Clinton administration has said a comprehensive test-ban treaty is one of its top arms-control priorities -- reversing the test-ban opposition of the Reagan and Bush years. But arms-control advocates say that the Clinton team will have to push harder towards this goal before the current atmosphere favoring a test-ban completion begins to sour.

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