Donald Trump: US will build up nuclear arsenal | 2018-10-23 |

Donald Trump: US will build up nuclear arsenal

BBC     23rd October, 2018 08:49:57 printer

Donald Trump: US will build up nuclear arsenal


President Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China.


Speaking to reporters, he repeated his belief that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which he has threatened to leave. Russia denies this.


The Cold War-era treaty banned medium-range missiles, reducing the perceived Soviet threat to European nations.


Russia has warned it will respond in kind if the US develops more weapons.


Mr Trump said the US would build up its arsenal "until people come to their senses".


He added: "It's a threat to whoever you want to include China and it includes Russia and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game... [Russia has] not adhered to the spirit of that agreement or to the agreement itself."


Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton has been holding talks in Moscow after Russia condemned the US plan to quit the deal.


Mr Bolton was told that the US withdrawal would be a "serious blow" to the non-proliferation regime.


However, Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev also said the Kremlin was "ready" to work with the US to remove "mutual" grievances over the INF.


What does the treaty say?


The INF treaty was signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, in the final years of the Cold War.


It banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles), both nuclear and conventional.


On Sunday, one of the original signatories of the INF treaty, Mikhail Gorbachev, said a US withdrawal would reverse efforts made to achieve nuclear disarmament.


But the US insists the Russians have, in breach of the deal, developed a new medium-range missile called the Novator 9M729 - known to Nato as the SSC-8 - which would enable Russia to launch a nuclear strike at Nato countries at very short notice.


Moscow denies the missile breaches the treaty but Nato said in July that Russia had failed to provide any "credible answer" over the missile and concluded that "the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the treaty".