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Trump blames China and Russia for his decision to kick off new nuclear arms race

"They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out.”
Trump calls for nuclear arms race until day when everyone comes “to their senses”

President Donald Trump warned Monday that the U.S. would embark on a nuclear arms race until China and Russia “come to their senses.

Over the weekend, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Moscow — a landmark Cold War-era agreement brokered by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that limited the production of land-based missiles.


On Monday, Trump pinned the blame on Moscow, which he accused of violating the terms of the 1987 pact.

"They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” Trump said.

He added China to his list of countries provoking the new nuclear arms race, and noted that Beijing should be part of any future nuclear treaty discussions.

Read: Trump and Putin are both very insecure about the size of their nuclear arsenals

Trump framed his exit from the deal as an effort of deterrence, but he also boasted about America's nuclear arsenal, and vowed to build it up again.

“We will build it up," Trump said, adding that the U.S. has “more money than anybody else by far, [so] we’ll build it up until they come to their senses."

When asked who the buildup was directed at, Trump quipped: “Whoever you want.”

“It includes China, and it includes Russia, and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game,” Trump continued. “You can't do that. You can't play that game on me."

Of the 14,500 nuclear weapons in the world, Russia and the United States hold around 90 percent of the global stockpile.

Read: The plan to make America's nukes great again could go horribly wrong

Trump’s intention to pull out of the Cold-War treaty has stirred alarm among non-proliferation experts and European allies, who warn that only danger can come from a fresh arms race.

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump to voice his concerns on the matter. “The president of the republic underlined the importance of this treaty, especially with regards to European security,” the French foreign ministry said of the call.


Europe’s calls for reconsideration followed warnings from Moscow, where Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that U.S. withdrawal “would be a very dangerous step.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader who signed the INF, piled on, calling Trump’s plan to exit the deal “not the work of a great mind.”

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, considered to be the loudest White House voice pushing for withdrawal, is in Moscow, where he's scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tuesday to discuss the treaty.

Cover image: President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, from a campaign rally in Houston. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)