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Trump’s arms race remarks appalling: Fmr. US official

US President-elect Donald Trump’s call for the expansion of America’s nuclear arsenal shows how “intemperate” he is, says a former US diplomat.

Michael Springmann, the former head of US visa bureau in the Saudi city of Jeddah, made the remarks after Trump said Friday that he would have no problem with a new arms race with other countries.

“Let it be an arms race,” Trump said in an interview with MSNBC on Friday, after he was asked to clarify an earlier tweet in which he reiterated his plans to strengthen and expand the US nuclear arsenal.

“We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all,” the incoming president said, refusing to specify which countries he was referring to.

Pointing to Trump’s recent comments, a spokesman for his transition team said the president-elect aimed to ensure that other countries such as Russia and China would not step up their nuclear capabilities.

The US currently has an arsenal of about 7,000 nuclear warheads, second only to Russia, which has a few hundred more.

“Already there are nine countries with nuclear weapons,” Springmann told Press TV on Friday. “They total about 15,000” and the most weapons are in Russian and America.

Nearly 26 years after the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, Washington and Moscow reportedly have some 2,000 atomic weapons ready to fly at a moment’s notice to destroy each other.

“To talk about wanting more weapons… and I can’t consider how you can make a better atomic bomb after 70 years of work on it… I think this is threatening the peace and security of the world even making remarks about it,” the former official added.

Pointing to the NATO military alliance’s buildup on the Russian border, Springmann said the US was deploying more weapons near Russia.

The US-led alliance announced in July that it would deploy, on a rotational basis, four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—to deter what it referred to as “any Russian incursion.”

Russia has pledged to respond accordingly to any threats posed by NATO.

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