The world’s largest nuclear powers, US, Russia, China, France and the UK have vowed to avoid any altercation that may degenerate into a nuclear war.
In a rare statement of unity the world powers pledged to never enter into a nuclear war. This is coming on the heels of rising tensions between the East-West.
The Arms Control Association (ACA) estimates that Russia has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear warheads with 6,255, followed closely by the United States with 5,550, China 350, France 290 and the UK with 225.
Other nations with nuclear warheads but not party to the Nonproliferation Treaty include, Pakistan 165, India 156, Israel 90 and North Korea 40-50.
There are reportedly 13, 400 nuclear weapons in the world although only used twice in warfare—in the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted to date.
The five nuclear weapon countries have now pledged to work together toward “a world without nuclear weapons”
They also harped on the importance of preventing conflict between nuclear-weapon states from escalating, describing it as a “foremost responsibility.”
“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” said the joint statement, which was issued simultaneously by the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France.
“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.”
The statement was released as Russia is massing troops along its border with Ukraine, raising alarms in US, UK and the EU of which France is a major power.
There is also increased Chinese military activity around the self-governed island of Taiwan which has spiked tensions between Beijing and Washington and US allies Japan, Australia, South Korea..
The statement released by the five powers, also known as the P5, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, called on 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.”
The five pledged to adhere to the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) which obligates them “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.”
Spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said the five-nation statement was initiated by Russia with the intention of it being released in coordination with a review of the Non Proliferation Treaty that started on Tuesday, January 4 in New York.
“Given the importance and self-sufficiency of this joint statement, the nuclear powers decided not to delay its publication,” Zakharova said, according to the official TASS news agency.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS the statement “was negotiated through diplomatic channels” and “comprehensively reflects the positions of the parties and the leaders”
The director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, Fu Cong, said that China remained committed to a policy of no first use and deterrence.
“Nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrence. They are not for war fighting. By saying that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought shows that this is an understanding shared by all the P5. So it is important that we have this in mind while we talk about the tension.
“This applies everywhere and it applies with our bad relations with the US … This is something that we hope could reduce tension, and it would help clarify certain misunderstandings,” Fu said, when asked about tensions over Taiwan.