5 Nuclear-weapon Powers Pledge That Nuclear War Must Never Be Fought

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In an unprecedented move, five powerful nuclear-weapon nations have pledged not to fight a nuclear war, and agreed that a further spread of nuclear arms should be avoided.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, leaders of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have affirmed that they consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as their foremost responsibilities.

"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," the statement reads.

The five countries, which are also permanent members of the UN Security Council, said they remain committed to their Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including the Article VI obligation "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, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

"We each intend to maintain and further strengthen our national measures to prevent unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons. 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 five countries, also known as the P5, underlined their desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament.

The joint statement by parties involved in political, economic and defense rivalry amid rising East-West tensions declares that their ultimate goal is a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.

"We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other's security interests and concerns," says the statement published by both the White House and the Kremlin.

Chinese vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said, "The five countries should take the joint statement as a new starting point to enhance mutual trust, strengthen coordination, and play a positive role in building a world with lasting peace and common security."

Russia's TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that the statement "was negotiated through diplomatic channels" and "comprehensively reflects the positions of the parties and the leaders."

Beginning Tuesday, New York is hosting a U.N. conference to review the implementation of the NPT.

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