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U.S. lawmakers introduce legislation prohibiting Trump from launching nuclear first strike

All News 06:06 January 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill prohibiting President Donald Trump from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, saying the issue of nuclear "first use" is more urgent than ever now that "Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment's notice."

"Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival," said Markey. "Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power. In a crisis with another nuclear-armed country, this policy drastically increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation."

Markey said neither Trump nor any other president should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack.

Lieu also said that it is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has "a commander-in-chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be 'unpredictable' with nuclear weapons."

"Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war," he said.

Concerns have flared about a fresh nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Russia after Trump said last month that the U.S. "must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

The remark came after Russian President Vladimir Putin also called earlier in the day for bolstering "strategic nuclear forces," especially those capable of penetrating "existing and future missile defense systems."

Trump did not back down, saying a day later: "Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."

U.S. lawmakers introduce legislation prohibiting Trump from launching nuclear first strike - 1

jschang@yna.co.kr
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