The Chinese Foreign Ministry has released a statement in opposition to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin's calls for expanding nuclear arms capabilities.
On Dec. 22, Trump tweeted the U.S. will be at the forefront of nuclear weapons and that the country will expand its arsenal, according to The New York Times.
"The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," he wrote.
Trump's comments escalated in the early hours of Dec. 23, when he told Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” that he would welcome a nuclear arms race with other countries.
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"Let it be an arms race," he told Brzezinski during a phone call before the show aired. "We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."
Putin, during his end-of-the-year address on Dec. 20, also called for bolstering Russia's nuclear weapons capabilities to "reliably penetrate" missile defense programs of foreign adversaries. On Dec. 23, he clarified his remarks, saying that he is not seeking another nuclear arms race with the U.S., but is instead trying to bolster armaments to destroy American missile defenses.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has made a statement in reaction to both Putin's and Trump's comments, condemning all use of nuclear weapons.
"China stands for and advocates the full prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a Dec. 23 press conference, according to The Financial Express. "The country with the largest nuclear arsenal should take special and prior responsibility for nuclear disarmament, take the lead in dramatically decreasing its nuclear arsenals so as to create conditions for full and thorough nuclear disarmament."
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Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump's comments were meant to send a clear message to other countries, according to The New York Times.
"I think it’s putting every nation on notice that the United States is going to reassert its position in the globe," he said. "Other countries need to understand that if they expand their nuclear capabilities, this president is not going to sit back, he’s going to act."