"Let it be an arms race" - US President-elect on nuclear weapons

Trump's press secretary said foreign powers need to be “put on notice” that the Trump administration will not sit back and allow them to undermine our safety and our sovereignty"

"Let it be an arms race" - US President-elect on nuclear weapons

Donald Trump after a meeting with admirals and generals from the Pentagon at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida. 21-Dec-2016. Image: Andrew Harnik AP/Press Association Images

The US president-elect Donald Trump has reportedly spoken of an "arms race" the day after he said he wanted America to increase its nuclear capability.

MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski said that in a phone call with her, Mr Trump commented: "Let it be an arms race, because we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."

Responding to those comments, Mr Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: "Other countries need to be put on notice that he is not going to sit back and allow them to undermine our safety and our sovereignty."

The news comes following a tweet from Mr Trump on Thursday stating the US must "greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability ."

Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he saw "nothing unusual" in Mr Trump's pledge to strengthen America’s nuclear forces.

"To be honest, I'm a bit surprised by the words of certain other official representatives of the current administration who have for some reason set about proving that the armed forces of the United States are the most powerful in the world,” said Mr Putin. "No-one disputed that.”

"If anyone is unleashing an arms race it's not us ... We will never spend resources on an arms race that we can't afford."

Speaking at his annual end-of-year news conference, the Russian leader also said that Mr Trump had won the American presidency because he "precisely felt the mood of society."

"Nobody believed that he would win except us," he added.

He also hinted at a possible trip to Washington. "If Trump invites me to travel to the United States, I will of course go," the RIA news agency quoted Mr Putin as saying.

"(I expect) a change in our relations and a return to normal inter-governmental interaction in order to resolve the problems that face our country and the world, in the first instance in the areas of security and economic development," Mr Putin reportedly added.

Russia has been accused of meddling in the US presidential election but he suggested that the Obama administration - and the Democrats in general - had sought to blame recent misfortunes on external factors, including Russia.

"They are losing on all fronts and are looking for the guilty party on the side," he said.  
"That's beneath their dignity. You have to lose with dignity." 

Quizzed about the apparent support for him among some American voters, Mr Putin said: "I don't put it down to me; the fact that a large part of Republican voters support the Russian president.”

"It means that a large part of the American people have the same idea of how the world should be, of our common dangers and problems." 

Mr Putin told reporters that he believes it is “good that there are people that sympathise with us in our concept of traditional values."