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US, China, Russia, France, UK pledge to prevent nuclear war

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THE United States (US), China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom (UK), on January 3, released a joint statement pledging to prevent a nuclear war.

The statement titled ‘Joint statement of the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races’ stated that a nuclear war would have a destructive effect on the world as it would not be won by any particular country.

“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the statement, which was posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, said.

The five countries are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

It is believed that the statement was released as a result of rising tensions between Russia and Western nations over the former’s military build-up near Ukraine, a neighbouring country that is regarded as an ally of the West.

US President Joe Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia would attract sanctions and lead to an increased US military presence in Europe.

But Russia has dismissed the US president’s warning, stressing that it can move its army around its own territory as it deems necessary.

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However, in an apparent move to allay fears of possible armed conflict between nuclear powers, the People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America, in the statement, said they considered the avoidance of war between nuclear-weapon states and the reduction of strategic risks as their ‘foremost responsibilities.’

The five countries also resolved that nuclear weapons should only be used for defensive purposes, rather than serving as instruments of aggression.

“As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons – for as long as they continue to exist – should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war. We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented,”

The statement added that the nuclear powers reaffirmed the importance of addressing nuclear threats, while also emphasising the importance of preserving and complying with bilateral and multilateral non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control agreements and commitments.

“We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our Article VI obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,” the statement added.

The countries pledged to maintain and further strengthen national measures to prevent unauthorised or unintended use of nuclear weapons.

“We reiterate the validity of our previous statements on de-targeting, reaffirming that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State.”

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They also expressed a desire to work with all countries to create a security environment that was favourable for progress on the disarmament agenda with the ultimate goal of  having a nuclear weapons-free world that guaranteed security for all human beings.

The five nuclear powers equally pledged to continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence, and prevent an arms race that would benefit none and endanger all.

“We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns,” the statement said.

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