US president-elect Donald Trump has called for the US to strengthen its nuclear capability.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The comment followed remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin over a potential bolstering of Moscow’s capacity.
“We need to strengthen the strategic nuclear forces, for that we should develop missiles capable of penetrating any current and prospective missile defence systems,” Putin said, according to the TASS news agency.
After talks with defence officials, Putin called for the Russian army to be upgraded to neutralize potential threats, including through the development of precision weapons, modern communication channels and electronic systems.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller later claimed that the president-elect “was referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it – particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes.”
“He has also emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength,” Miller said in a statement.
Trump has drawn fire for previous comments on nuclear weapons.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton repeatedly said during the presidential campaign this year that the Republican candidate could not be trusted with the US nuclear arsenal.
Her stance came after Trump publicly wondered why the US did not make use of the weapons and suggested other nations should acquire their own stockpiles.
The US has been reducing its nuclear weapons stockpiles for decades under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and a series of agreements with Russia.(dpa/NAN)