TOKYO, June 17, 1967 (UPI) - Communist China announced it successfully conducted its first hydrogen bomb test today in the air over the western part of the China mainland. The announcement was made in a Japanese language broadcast monitored in Tokyo. It said the Chinese scientists had succeeded in launching a "hydrogen bomb test."
It was the sixth Red Chinese nuclear weapons test since Peking joined the world atomic powers in October 1964, and the first of this year.
U.S. officials said today's blast was "no surprise if true" but said the United States had not confirmed the nature of the reported test.
The report of a successful test of a made-in-Peking hydrogen bomb would put China ahead of France in the nuclear arms race. France has been running tests on a hydrogen bomb test trigger in its South Pacific proving grounds and is not expected to test its first hydrogen device until the early 1970s.
The first Chinese nuclear device, exploded on Oct. 16, 1964, was about the size of the U.S. bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II-the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT.
A larger device was tested on May 14, 1965. The third test on May 6, 1966, contained "thermonuclear material," according to western monitors.
The fourth test look place on Oct. 27, 1966, and the Peking government claimed it employed a guided missile. The fifth text was conducted on Dec 28, 1966.
After the Dec. 28 test, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission announced that the Chinese already were using some "thermal nuclear material."
This was taken to mean that the Dec. 26 device contained some hydrogen as well as uranium, but that it was experimental rather than a completed bomb.