China said Saturday that it maintains a "very restrained attitude" toward nuclear tests but didn't deny U.S. allegations it was planning one.
U.S. officials have suggested China is preparing to detonate a nuclear weapon at its remote testing site in the northwestern Xinjiang province. President Clinton urged Beijing on Friday to drop the reported plans.
Clinton's remarks capped weeks of intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy, including contacts by senior State Department officials with other governments asking them to pressure China to scrap the alleged test.
Intelligence reports taken from satellites and intercepted electronic signals show that China has prepared its isolated Lop Nor test site for a detonation, U.S. officials say.
In response to reporters' questions about the American claims, the Foreign Ministry issued a one-sentence statement on Saturday that said, "It is known to all that China has all along taken a very restrained attitude toward the nuclear test issue."
If China does conduct an underground nuclear test, it would be the first by any country in a year and could threaten the 15-month moratorium on U.S. testing Clinton declared July 3.