Washington: Ahead of the crucial Nuclear Security Summit, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has claimed he alone can solve the problem of Islamist terrorism with a nuclear armed Pakistan posing a “vital” issue.
“Pakistan is a very, very vital problem and really vital country for us because they have a thing called nuclear weapons,” he said participating in a town hall style meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday. “They have to get a hold of their situation.”
“When I see that and when I see it put in a park because it was mostly Christians, although many others were killed other than Christians, I think it’s just absolutely a horrible story,” Mr Trump said, referring to the Lahore terrorist attack.
“But I’m talking about radical Islamic terrorism,” Mr Trump said on the event hosted by CNN. “I will solve it far better than anybody else running” for presidency.
Asked about his comment that he might support Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons of their own given his stated concern for nuclear proliferation, Mr Trump said because “North Korea has nuclear weapons” though it “doesn’t have a carrier yet”.
Asked if letting other countries get nuclear weapons, wasn’t proliferation, he said “Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it. You have so many other countries are now having it.”
“At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself, we have,” he said.
“It’s going to happen, anyway,” Mr Trump said. “It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely.”
“But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.
“Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons? And they do have them. They absolutely have them. They can’t — they have no carrier system yet but they will very soon,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump’s comments about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons came after a senior administration official expressed renewed concern about the nuclear weapons in a preview of the summit in Washington on March 31 and April 1.
“Our concerns regarding the continuing deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons by Pakistan relate to a reality of the situation,” said Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
“When battlefield nuclear weapons are deployed forward, they can represent an enhanced nuclear security threat,” she said.
“It’s more difficult to sustain positive control over systems that are deployed forward. We found this lesson ourselves out in Europe during the years of the Cold War,” she said.
“And so I do think that that is a reality of the situation. It’s not related particularly to any one country,” Ms Gottemoeller said.
“Wherever battlefield nuclear weapons exist, they represent particular nuclear security problems.”
On Friday, Pakistan’s top nuclear security adviser Khalid Ahmed Kidwai rejected calls from the US to curb Pakistan’s reliance on tactical nuclear weapons.
“We are not apologetic about the development of the TNWs (tactical nuclear weapons) and they are here to stay,” he said at a seminar in Islamabad following Ms Gottemoeller’s earlier testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.