The United States, France, Russia, China and the United Kingdom promise to stop the spread of nuclear weapons
On Monday, five global nuclear powers promised to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to avoid nuclear conflicts, in a rare joint statement that puts aside growing tensions in the West and East to confirm a goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
“We are convinced that further proliferation of such weapons must be prevented,” said the permanent members of the UN Security Council China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, adding: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
The statement came after the latest revision of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which first came into force in 1970 – was postponed from the planned date of January 4 to later in the year due to the Covid19 pandemic.
Putting aside current differences that have caused great tensions between both China and Russia and their Western partners, the five world powers said they saw “avoiding war between nuclear-weapon states and reducing strategic risks as our primary responsibility.”
“As the use of nuclear weapons would have far-reaching consequences, we also reaffirm that nuclear weapons – as long as they continue to exist – should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war,” they said in the English text released. of the White House.
The powers added: “We intend for each one to maintain and further strengthen our national measures to prevent the unauthorized or unintentional use of nuclear weapons.”
The statement also contained a promise to follow a key article in the NPT according to which states undertake to implement complete nuclear disarmament in the future.
“We remain committed to our NPT obligations, including our Article 6 obligation” on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict control.
According to the UN, a total of 191 states have acceded to the treaty. The provisions of the Treaty require a review of its functioning every five years.
The statement comes because tensions between Russia and the United States have reached heights rarely seen since the Cold War over a troop build-up by Moscow near the Ukrainian border.
It has raised concerns that the Kremlin, worried about the possibility of further enlargement to the east of NATO, is planning a new attack on its pro-Western neighbor. Critical talks between Russia and the United States on European security are expected in Geneva on 10 January.
China’s rise under President Xi Jinping has also raised concerns that tensions with Washington could lead to conflicts, especially over the island of Taiwan.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has promised to one day take it, by force if necessary.
Russia welcomed the declaration by the nuclear powers and expressed hope that it would reduce global tensions.
“We hope that, in the current difficult conditions of international security, the approval of such a political statement will help reduce the level of international tensions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow still considers a summit between the world’s nuclear powers “necessary”.
China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying that the promise “will help increase mutual trust and replace competition between major powers with coordination and cooperation.”
The statement also came as the world powers sought to reach an agreement with Iran to revive the 2015 agreement on its controversial nuclear effort, which was made deadly by the US withdrawing from the 2018 agreement.
Washington, which has never ruled out military action against Iran, has repeatedly warned that time is running out to reach an agreement.
The NPT recognizes China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States as nuclear powers.
However, India and Pakistan have also developed nuclear weapons while Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but has never officially acknowledged this.
These three states have not signed the NPT. North Korea, which has also developed nuclear weapons, withdrew from the NPT in 2003.