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Trump wants more nuclear weapons to make America ‘top of the pack’

A watered down version of Donald Trump's  travel ban can go into effect.

A watered down version of Donald Trump's travel ban can go into effect. Photo: Getty

President Donald Trump has hinted at the possibility of a new arms race, saying he wants to build up America’s nuclear arsenal to ensure the US is at the “top of the pack”.

Mr Trump made the alarming comments in an interview with Reuters on Friday, adding that he believed the United States had fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity.

“I am the first one that would like to see nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power,” he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Mr Trump wants China to do more to deal with North Korea. Photo: AAP

“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.”

The new strategic arms limitation treaty, known as New START, which requires that by February, 2018, Russia and the US limit their strategic nuclear weapons to equal levels for 10 years, was a “one-sided deal”, according to Mr Trump.

The US is currently embarking on a $US1 trillion, 30-year modernisation of its aging ballistic missile submarines, bombers and land-based missiles, Reuters reported.

He was also unhappy with Russia’s deployment of a cruise missile, an action that violated an arms control treaty, saying he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking from the Oval Office, the President also strongly criticised China’s handling of its volatile neighbour North Korea, suggesting Beijing could deal with the national security challenge posed by Kim Jong-un’s regime “very easily if they want to”.

To defend US allies Japan and South Korea, Mr Trump said accelerating a missile defence system was an option, adding that he was “very angry” at North Korean ballistic missile tests.

It is not the first time Mr Trump has appeared to question commitments to nuclear disarmament.

During the election campaign, the Republican appeared to indicate support for Japan acquiring nuclear weapons to defend itself from the North Koreans.

However, days before his inauguration, he discussed the possibility of making a deal with Russia for both nations to reduce their arms, saying: “For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially.”

vladimir putin

Mr Trump says he will raise missile launches with Russia’s president. Photo: Getty

Turnbull-Trump meeting

The President’s comments on America’s nuclear arsenal came as Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop revealed planning is underway for a meeting between Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Trump.

It would be the first official face-to-face discussion between the two men, following controversy over their reportedly fiery phone call earlier in the month.

Ms Bishop said she was “hopeful of a bilateral meeting as soon as possible.”

The Foreign Minister recently met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mr Trump’s new National Security Advisor Lieutenant-General H R McMaster.

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