Rare joint statement from Russia, China, Britain, US and France says ‘nuclear war cannot be won’


China, Russia, Britain, the United States and France have agreed that a further spread of nuclear arms and a nuclear war should be avoided, in a rare joint statement by the five nuclear states on the United Nations Security Council.

“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the statement read.

“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 countries stated their commitment to world elimination of nuclear weapons, and improving their own domestic measures “to prevent unauthorised or unintended use of nuclear weapons”.

They also reiterated their commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an agreement which went into force in 1970 that was designed to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. 

A conference to review the treaty was set to begin on Tuesday at the United Nations, but has been postponed until August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

None of the countries behind the statement has agreed to the more comprehensive United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which would require them to eliminate their nuclear weapons programs. 

The statement came amid increased geopolitical tensions between Moscow and Western nations over concerns about Russia’s military build-up near neighbouring Ukraine.

Moscow says it can move its army around its own territory as it deems necessary.

US President Joe Biden told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week that a possible move on Ukraine would draw sanctions and an increased US presence in Europe, where tensions are high after Russia’s military build-up at the border.

ABC/wires



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