For the first time, the leaders of China, France, Russia, the UK and the US on Monday issued a joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races, in which China played a powerful leading role, and pushed for the reaffirmation of not aiming nuclear devices at each other or at any other state.
The joint statement by the five Nuclear-Weapon States – also the five UN Security Council permanent members – will set the mind of the international community at ease at a time when the international strategic security is facing many major challenges, Chinese experts said on Monday.
According to the joint statement, the five countries consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as their foremost responsibilities, and they affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.
The five countries’ leaders affirm that nuclear weapons – for as long as they continue to exist – should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war, the joint statement said, noting that they also believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented, and they remain committed to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations, including pursuing negotiations on measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.
“We reiterate the validity of our previous statements on de-targeting, reaffirming that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State,” the joint statement reads.
Introducing the significance of the joint statement, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu told media on Monday that this is the first time the leaders of the five countries have issued a statement over the nuclear weapon issue.
This reflects the five countries’ political will of preventing nuclear war and their common voice on safeguarding global strategic stability and reducing risks of a nuclear conflict, at a time when international strategic security is facing many major challenges amid profound changes not seen in a century as well as the pandemic, Ma said.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that the world today is not peaceful. For example, the current issue over Ukraine could risk a nuclear war between the US and Russia, and that is why US President Joe Biden said nuclear war must not start in his recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US is reportedly developing low-yield nuclear weapons and lowing the threshold of using nuclear weapons in real combat, observers said.
The joint statement is good news for the world, and it will set the mind of the international community at ease, Song said.
Ma revealed that China played a powerful leading role in the five countries’ joint efforts, and in the discussion of the joint statement, China pushed to include key content including the reaffirming of not aiming nuclear devices at each other or at any other state.
China always maintains a nuclear strategic self-defensive in nature, upholds a nuclear policy of no-first-use, and keeps its nuclear strength at a minimum level to safeguard national security, Ma stressed. “This in itself is an important contribution to global strategic stability.”
Song said this displays China’s responsibility as a major power and dismissed foreign media’s recent hype over China’s nuclear development.