President Trump commented on the U.S. nuclear arsenal for the first time since taking office, telling Reuters on Thursday the country needs to make sure its weapons capabilities are at the “top of the pack."
Trump insisted that he would like to see a world without nuclear weapons, but expressed concerns that the U.S. has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.”
"It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack," Trump said.
Trump did not elaborate on how to assure the quality of program.
Trump in December called for the U.S. to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability" until the rest of the world "comes to its senses" regarding nuclear weapons.
Russia has 7,000 warheads and the U.S. has 6,800, according to the latest numbers from the Ploughshares Fund, the anti-nuclear group.
A strategic arms limitation treaty between the U.S. and Russia requires that by February 2018 both countries must limit their strategic nuclear weapons to equal levels for 10 years.
Trump also expressed his concerns over Russia’s deployment of a ground-based cruise missile that is in violation of a Cold War-era treaty that prohibits land-based U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles.
Trump said he would raise the issue with Putin when they meet.