German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas voiced criticism of the UK’s plans to increase its nuclear arsenal in an exclusive interview with DW on Thursday.
“We don’t want nuclear weapons arsenals to grow. If you don’t want that to happen, you can’t expand them,” Maas said when he sat down with DW’s Chief International Editor Richard Walker in Berlin.
Regarding British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement this Tuesday that his government would lift the cap on the number of Trident warheads in the United Kingdom’s nuclear stockpiles for the first time in more than 30 years, Maas said that the German government “is of the opinion that there are already too many nuclear warheads in the world, not too few. That is also why we don’t want nuclear arsenals to grow.”
The Social Democrat added, “The past has shown that if one side has more nuclear weapons, the other side will try to catch up. And that is the disastrous arms race we have been in for decades.”
The UK deploys its Trident missiles in four submarines, one of which continuously cruises the seas in order to maintain the ability to counterstrike in the event of a nuclear attack. The decision will increase the number of missiles in the UK’s nuclear stockpile by more than 40% — from 180 to 260 warheads.