Russia, China, Britain, US and France say no one can win nuclear war

Flags are seen outside the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria on May 23, 2021. REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger

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MOSCOW / WASHINGTON, Jan.3 (Reuters) – China, Russia, Britain, the United States and France have agreed that further spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear war should be avoided, joint statement says of the five nuclear powers released by the Kremlin on Monday.

He said the five countries – which are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – consider it their primary responsibility to avoid war between nuclear states and reduce strategic risks, while aiming to work with all countries to create a climate of security.

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

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“As the use of nuclear power would have far-reaching consequences, we also assert that nuclear weapons – as long as they continue to exist – should be used for defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war.”

France also issued the statement, stressing that the five powers reiterated their determination for nuclear weapons control and disarmament. They would pursue bilateral and multilateral approaches to nuclear arms control, he said.

The so-called P5 group’s statement comes as bilateral relations between the United States and Moscow are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War, while relations between Washington and China are also at their lowest in a series of disagreements.

The Pentagon sharply increased its estimate of China’s planned nuclear weapons arsenal over the next several years in November, saying Beijing could have 700 warheads by 2027 and possibly 1,000 by 2030.

Washington has repeatedly urged China to join it and Russia in a new arms control treaty.

Geopolitical tensions between Moscow and Western countries have escalated over concerns over Russia’s military build-up near neighboring Ukraine. Moscow says it can move its army to its own territory as it sees fit.

Last Thursday, US President Joe Biden told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a possible decision against Ukraine would lead to sanctions and an increased American presence in Europe, where tensions are high after the reinforcement of the Russian army in the border.

U.S. and Russian officials will hold security talks on January 10 to discuss concerns over their respective military activities and deal with growing tensions over Ukraine, the two countries said.

A conference on a major nuclear treaty that was due to start on Tuesday at the United Nations has been postponed to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow and Daphne Psaledakis and Jonathan Landay in Washington; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Angus MacSwan and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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