Uniting In Rare Anti-Nuclear Message
Five World Powers – China, Russia, Britain, France and the US – have issued a joint statement on Nuclear Power and Arms Race in the first week of January 2022, saying that as no one could win a nuclear war, it must never be fought!
Indeed, the five Global Powerhouses have sent a strong and positive message to the international community at a time when conflicts are going on in different parts of the globe. The world is worried about the Russia-Ukraine crisis in Europe, as well as the crisis between China and Taiwan in Asia. In West Asia, Iran’s rivalry with Saudi Arabia and Israel has always been a cause of concern. Amidst such a situation, China, Russia, Britain, France and the US have agreed to avoid a further spread of nuclear arms and a nuclear war.
According to the joint statement published by the Kremlin on January 3, the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) shall take every necessary step to avoid war between the Nuclear States, and to reduce strategic risks. They shall also work with other countries in order to ensure global peace.
The Russian-language version of the statement said: “We declare there could be no winners in a nuclear war, it should never be started.” It also said: “As the use of nuclear arms would have far-reaching consequences, we also confirm that nuclear arms – as long as they exist – should serve defensive aims, deterrence against aggression and prevention of war.” Meanwhile, the French version of the statement underscored that the five powers were determined to control nuclear arms, apart from respecting the disarmament agreement. Paris said that bilateral and multilateral approaches would be followed to control nuclear arms.
The five nations further pledged to adhere to the 1970 Nuclear Non-proliferation 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“. Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated that Moscow initiated the statement with the intention of it being released in coordination with a review of the NPT that was to begin in New York on January 4, 2022. However, the review has been postponed because the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US. “Given the importance and self-sufficiency of this joint statement, the nuclear powers decided not to delay its publication,” added Zakharova. Interestingly, the Kremlin and Washington DC had used similar language while issuing a joint statement after a meeting between the then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva in 1985.
Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu expressed hope that the joint statement would help increase mutual trust, and “replace competition among major powers with coordination and cooperation“. Xinhua quoted the Minister as saying that the global community should not be worried about China, as the Asian Giant has a “No First Use” policy on nuclear weapons. Earlier in November 2021, the Pentagon mentioned in a report that Beijing could have 700 warheads by 2027 and possibly 1,000 by 2030.
Geopolitical experts have welcomed the move, stressing that the joint statement has indicated that Moscow and Western nations are ready to normalise their relations. It may be noted that the Kremlin’s ties with the West deteriorated because of Russia’s military build-up near neighbouring Ukraine. In 2021, Moscow announced that it could move its Army around its own territory, if necessary. In the last week of December 2021, US President Joe Biden informed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a possible move on Ukraine would certainly draw sanctions and an increased presence for the US Forces in Europe.
Currently, Russia has the world’s biggest stockpile of nuclear warheads (6,255), followed by the US (5,550), China (350), France (290), the UK (225), Pakistan (165), India (156), Israel (90) and North Korea (40-50).
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