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Trump says America needs to boost nuclear capability until 'world comes to its senses'

The US President-elect made the comment a few hours after Vladimir Putin said something similar about Russia.

PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD Trump has said America must boost its nuclear capability until the “world comes to its senses”.

“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 today, without elaborating on what he meant.

CNN has noted, a few hours beforehand, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech in Moscow that Russia needs to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems”.

Trump’s comment marks a jarring departure from President Barack Obama’s rhetoric, who in a famous speech in Prague in 2009 called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Pentagon officials 

Trump’s tweet came the day after he met a group of Pentagon officials including Vice Admiral James Syring, who heads the Missile Defense Agency.

The conversation centered on cutting costs to various military programmes.

America currently has an estimated arsenal of about 7,000 nuclear warheads, second only to Russia, which has a few hundred more.

Donald Trump US President-elect Donald Trump Source: Andrew Harnik/AP

The Pentagon wants to replace or modernise all three legs of its “triad”, a three-pronged nuclear attack force comprising intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarines and bombers.

Experts estimate the cost will hit $1 trillion (about €957 billion) over the next 30 years.

During the presidential campaign debates, Trump was unable to provide specifics when asked what his priority would be for the nuclear triad, saying “the power, the devastation is very important”.

I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible, who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important.

“The biggest problem we have today is nuclear, nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That’s in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now,” he said at the time.

© AFP 2016

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