Nuclear arms race set in motion by tweeting US President-elect

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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:

“He’s going to ensure that other countries get the message that he’s not going to sit back and allow that.”

And what’s going to happen is they will come to their senses, and we will all be just fine.”

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.