President-elect Trump sparks debate on nuclear proliferation

WASHINGTON, Dec 24 (APP): President-elect Donald Trump in an interview to MSNBC reported Friday doubled down on his assertion on strengthening nuclear capabilities that has sparked a new debate in the media and alarmed anti-proliferation experts.
“Let it be an arms race,” the MSNBC said quoting Mr. Trump when he was asked for clarification of his Thursday twetn in which he called for expanding US nuclear weapon capabilities. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all”.
It is not clear what prompted Mr. Trump to speak on US nuclear
capabilities which came a day after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, made his own statement on strengthening Russia’s nuclear arsenal and the need to develop missiles “capable of penetrating any current or prospective missile defense systems”.
Mr. Trump’s tweet has rung an alarm bell within the arms-control
community which is fearing that it could lead to the beginning of an arms race.
A statement issued from the Trump’s spokesman after the tweet stated 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”.
The US has currently about 7,000 nuclear warheads and is currently
working to modernize and replace the aging nuclear force at an estimated cost of $1 trillion over 30 years, a media report said.
Mr. Trump on Wednesday met with the chief executives of Boeing and
Lockheed Martin, two of the country’s biggest nuclear weapons contractors, which along with Northrop Grumman, are competing to build the next generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles for the Air Force at an estimated cost of at least $85 billion.
The statements on strengthening their countries’ nuclear capabilities by
the two leaders come despite their indicated desire to improve US-Russia relations.
Mr. Trump will take office as the US next President on Jan. 20
Media report quoted Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer as saying in various interviews aired Friday that there would be not be an arms race because the president-elect would ensure that other countries trying to step up their nuclear capabilities, such as Russia and China, would decide not to do so.