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Trump: US must 'greatly strengthen' nuclear capability

Published:Friday | December 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM

PALM BEACH, Florida (AP):

United States President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday abruptly called for the United States to "greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability" until the rest of the world "comes to its senses" regarding nuclear weapons.

Trump made the statement on Twitter and did not expand on the actions he wants the US to take or on the issues he sees around the world. His comments came one day after meeting with incoming White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump's transition website says he "recognises the uniquely catastrophic threats posed by nuclear weapons and cyberattacks," adding that he will modernise the nuclear arsenal "to ensure it continues to be an effective deterrent." Beyond that, he has offered few specifics, either as a candidate or during the transition.

Trump's vanquished campaign rival Hillary Clinton repeatedly cast the Republican as too erratic and unpredictable to have control of the nation's nuclear arsenal. Ten former nuclear missile launch operators also wrote that Trump lacks the temperament, judgement and diplomatic skill to avoid nuclear war.

Trump was spending Thursday at his private estate in South Florida, where he has been meeting with advisers and interviewing potential Cabinet nominees. He is also building out his White House staff, announcing that campaign manager Kellyanne Conway will join him in the West Wing as a counsellor.