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Joint statement from five nuclear-weapon states on preventing nuclear war & avoiding arms races
And the Chinese position
It’s the last night of the three-day New Year holidays in China here. The website of China’s Foreign Ministry just posted a JOINT STATEMENT Of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States On Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races (ENG) (CHN) and a further explanation of the Chinese position from Vice Minister Ma Zhaoxu on the joint statement.
Ma’s statement is translated below - an unofficial translation - and the joint statement is pasted at the end.
Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu Interviewed by Media on Five nuclear-weapon states leaders' Joint Statement on preventing nuclear war 2022-01-03 21:00
Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu gave an interview to the media to introduce the significance of the joint statement and the efforts made by China, as well as China's proposition on strengthening global governance in the nuclear field.
Ma Zhaoxu said that at the beginning of the New Year, the five nuclear-weapon states - China, Russia, the United States, Britain, and France - jointly issued the Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, stressing that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and reaffirming that they will not target nuclear weapons at each other or any other State. This is the first time that the leaders of the five states issued a statement on nuclear weapons, reflecting the political will of the five states to prevent nuclear war, and also sending a common voice to maintain global strategic stability and reduce the risk of nuclear conflict.
At present, changes unseen in a century and the pandemic of the century are intertwined and overlapping, and the international strategic security field is facing many major challenges. The joint statement issued by the leaders of the five states will help enhance mutual trust and replace great power competition with coordinated cooperation, which also has positive significance for building a generally stable and balanced relationship in great power relations.
Ma stressed that China has been actively advocating the concept that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought", and has played a strong leading role for the five states to take common actions. During the consultation process of the joint statement, China also promoted the inclusion of important elements such as reaffirming not targeting nuclear weapons at each other or any other State, which played an important role in promoting the five states to reach a positive and weighty statement.
Ma said that the five nuclear powers are all permanent members of the UN Security Council and the nuclear-weapon states under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and all have a common responsibility to prevent nuclear war and maintain world peace. The five states should take the joint statement as a new starting point, enhance mutual trust, strengthen collaboration, and play an active role in building a world of lasting peace and universal security.
China has always been adhering to a nuclear strategy of self-defense, adopting a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, and maintaining its nuclear forces at the minimum level needed to safeguard national security, which in itself is an important contribution to global strategic stability. China will continue to contribute Chinese wisdom and propose Chinese solutions to promote global governance in the nuclear field, and is willing to cooperate with all peace-loving states.
The People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our 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.
We reaffirm the importance of addressing nuclear threats and emphasize the importance of preserving and complying with our bilateral and multilateral non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and commitments. We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our 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.
We underline our desire to work with 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. We intend to continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence, and prevent an arms race that would benefit none and endanger all. We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns.