MOSCOW — A Soviet official said Monday that U.S. plans to produce a new type of chemical weapon could "torpedo" negotiations in Geneva on a chemical arms ban.
Col. Gen. Vladimir K. Pikalov, commander of the Soviet Union's chemical warfare forces, told a Moscow news conference that the United States is "starting a new spiral in the arms race" with plans to produce binary weapons.
"The U.S. binary program creates serious obstacles if it does not torpedo altogether the (Geneva) negotiations," he said.
The Reagan Administration won congressional approval to begin on Dec. 1 to manufacture a limited number of binary munitions in the first resumption of U.S. chemical weapons production since 1969.
Pikalov's comments followed a weekend tour by diplomats from 45 countries to view a display of Soviet chemical weapons at the previously secret Shikhany munitions complex, about 400 southeast of Moscow. Until April of this year, the Soviets said they did not possess or produce chemical weapons.