Donald Trump has declared that the United States would “outmatch” and “outlast” other countries in expanding its nuclear arsenal – declaring: “Let it be an arms race”.
It comes after the President-elect tweeted on Thursday, saying the US “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
In a telephone conversation with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on Friday, he was asked to expand on what he meant.
She said he responded: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
Separately, his newly-appointed official spokesman Sean Spicer insisted there would not be an arms race because Mr Trump would ensure that other countries trying to expand their nuclear capabilities – such as Russia and China – would think again.
Speaking to NBC, he said:
It was not immediately clear what prompted Mr Trump’s initial tweet, though it came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech in which he said his country needed to boost its nuclear weaponry to ensure it could “neutralise” threats.
Shares in several uranium producers and a nuclear fuel technology company jumped on Trump’s comments, with Uranium Resources Inc, Uranium Energy Corp, Cameco Corp and Lightbridge Corp all trading higher on Friday.