United Kingdom - Q&A from the daily press briefing (17 Mar. 2021)


Q: The United Kingdom is going to increase the ceiling of its nuclear arsenal, the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, as part of its strategic security, defense and foreign policy review announced on Tuesday. How might France, which is one of the world’s five nuclear powers, comment on this decision? What are the consequences of this decision for strategic stability around the world?

A: The decision by the United Kingdom, a strategic partner and power allied with France, to increase the ceiling of its nuclear arsenal is a sovereign decision. We fully respect it.

It responds to the analysis by the United Kingdom of the challenges to strategic balance, as well as to the diversification and escalation of threats over the past decade.

France shares, with great concern, this assessment of the changing security environment. As President Macron noted in his speech on February 7, 2020, some states, in contrast to France and its allies, are consciously choosing to adopt an opaque, or even aggressive, nuclear posture, involving an element of blackmail or fait accompli.

Given this context, France remains very committed to continuing efforts to improve international security conditions, to promote disarmament, which must be comprehensive, gradual, credible and verifiable, and arms control. It calls on the other nuclear weapon states to demonstrate, like France and the United Kingdom, transparency regarding their doctrine and their nuclear arsenal.