The UK, France, Russia, China and the USA have signed a joint statement, published by the Kremlin on Monday, reiterating the countries’ commitment to non-proliferation and disarmament agreements.
The statement comes after tensions between Russia and the US regarding Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Relations between China and the US are also tenuous, with China set to replace the US as the world’s largest economy by the end of the decade.
Highlights of the statement include:
“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. 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.”
“We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more
conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.”
Of the nations that signed the statement, only China currently has a “no first strike” policy, although the Pentagon believes China is building its nuclear arsenal and could have as many as 1000 warheads by 2030.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said that they hope the joint statement can begin to “replace competition among major powers with coordination and cooperation”.
A new arms control treaty was supposed to be negotiated upon by the UN on Tuesday, but due to COVID-19 has been delayed until August.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said of the agreement:
“We hope that in the current complicated international security environment, the approval of such a political statement by the leaders of the nuclear powers will help to reduce the level of international tension and curb the arms race.”
U.S. and Russian officials are due to hold security talks on the 10th of January regarding the situation in Ukraine and the countries’ military activities.