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Nations say nuclear war can’t be won

This US Air Force photo shows an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile as it launches during a developmental test at 12:33 am Pacific Time on Feb 5, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (CLAYTON WEAR / US AIR FORCE / AFP)

Leaders of the five nuclear weapon states reaffirmed on Monday that none of their nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other state, emphasizing that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

In a joint statement issued by China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States-the first of its kind-the leaders said that they consider the avoidance of war between nuclear weapon states and the reduction of strategic risks as their foremost responsibility.

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.

Joint statement issued by China, France, Russia, Britain and the US

"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," they said in the statement, adding that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.

They also reaffirmed the importance of addressing nuclear threats and emphasized the importance of preserving and complying with their bilateral and multilateral nonproliferation, disarmament and arms control agreements and commitments.

They added that they remain committed to their obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

"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," they said.

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The leaders underlined their 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 and with undiminished security for all.

They added that they 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.

Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu speaks in an interview about the joint statement on nuclear weapons issued by China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States on Jan 3, 2022. (PHOTO / DMPEX.FOC.CN)

Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said on Monday that the joint statement reflected the five countries' political will to prevent nuclear war as well as their joint call for maintaining global strategic stability and reducing the risk of nuclear confrontation

Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said on Monday that the joint statement reflected the five countries' political will to prevent nuclear war as well as their joint call for maintaining global strategic stability and reducing the risk of nuclear confrontation.

At a time when global strategic security faces multiple major challenges, the joint statement will help strengthen mutual trust and replace major power competition with coordination and cooperation, Ma said.

It also bears positive significance for building a generally stable relationship between major countries that develops in a balanced manner, he added.

Ma also said that China has been an active initiator of the idea that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought" and has played a strong leading role for the five countries to take joint action and reach the statement.

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China will continue to contribute Chinese wisdom and proposals for promoting global governance in the nuclear arena and stands ready to cooperate with all peace-loving countries, he added.