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World powers vow to stop spread of nuclear weapons

The rare joint statement comes amid negotiations over reviving the Iran nuclear deal and escalating tensions between the United States, Russia and China.

Five global nuclear powers have pledged to prevent atomic weapons spreading and to avoid nuclear conflict, in a rare joint statement ahead of a review of a key nuclear treaty later this year.

“We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented,” said UN Security Council members China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States on Monday.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the members said, putting aside current differences that have caused major tensions between both China and Russia and their Western partners. 

The powers added, “We each intend to maintain and further strengthen our national measures to prevent unauthorised or unintended use of nuclear weapons.”

READ MORE: Global spending on nuclear weapons on rise even amid Covid

Increasing ‘mutual trust’

Russia welcomed the declaration by the atomic powers and expressed hope it would reduce global tensions.

“We hope that, in the current difficult conditions of international security, the approval of such a political statement will help reduce the level of international tensions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow still considered a summit between the world’s nuclear powers to be “necessary”.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu stated to the official Xinhua news agency that the joint agreement “will help increase mutual trust and replace competition among major powers with coordination and cooperation”.

Ma described the agreement as “positive and weighty”, adding it would help create a “balanced relationship between major powers”.

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