France respects the United Kingdom’s sovereign decision to raise the cap on its nuclear arsenal, the country’s foreign ministry told Sputnik on Wednesday.
London on Tuesday made public its new defense and foreign policy strategy, which mentions increasing the UK nuclear weapons stockpile to 260 warheads, reversing the government’s previous plans to reduce it to 180 by mid-2020s.
“The decision [made by] the United Kingdom, France’s strategic partner and ally, to raise its nuclear arsenal’s cap is a sovereign decision. We have absolute respect for it,” a ministry spokesperson said during a briefing.
The official stated that the UK decision was motivated by the disruption of the strategic balance, as well as diversification of threats within the last decade, adding that Paris shares this security outlook and is very concerned about it.
“As President of the Republic [Emmanuel Macron] observed in his speech of February 7, 2020, unlike France and its allies, some countries purposefully choose a non-transparent, aggressive even, nuclear policy, including blackmail,” the spokesperson said.
In light of that, France is still committed to promoting international security and disarmament, urging other countries to demonstrate transparency of their doctrines and nuclear arsenals, according to the foreign ministry.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is concerned that the decision by the United Kingdom to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal could have a damaging impact on global stability at a time when nuclear risks are higher than they have been since the Cold War, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.
“We do express our concern at the UK his decision to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal, which is contrary to its obligations to Article Six of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and it could have a damaging impact on global stability and efforts to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons at a time when nuclear weapon risks are higher than they have been since the Cold War,” Dujarric said during a press briefing.