The White House denounced Donald Trump’s comments that Japan and South Korea might need to obtain nuclear weapons for self-defense on Thursday, calling the idea “catastrophic.”
“The entire premise of American foreign policy as it relates to nuclear weapons for the last 70 years is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said when asked to respond to Trump’s comments, the Washington Post reported. “It would be catastrophic were the United States to shift its position and indicate that we support somehow the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries.”
President Barack Obama is currently holding the Nuclear Security Summitaimed at curbing nuclear proliferation and preventing terrorist groups from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Trump has said Japan and South Korea might need to have their own nuclear arsenals if the U.S. is unable to defend them against North Korea.
“It’s a position that we have to talk about,” Trump said in an interview with the New York Times last week. “If the United States keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, they’re going to want to have that anyway with or without me discussing it, because I don’t think they feel very secure in what’s going on with our country.”