Five global nuclear powers 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 permanent UN Security Council members China, France, Russia, the U.K. and U.S.
- The statement was issued after the latest review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) — which first came into force in 1970 — was postponed from its scheduled date of January 4 to later in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The statement comes as tensions between Russia and the United States have reached heights rarely seen since the Cold War over a troop build-up by Moscow close to the Ukrainian border.
- That has raised fears that the Kremlin is planning a new attack on its pro-Western neighbour.
- The rise of China meanwhile has also raised concerns that tensions with Washington could lead to conflict, notably over the island of Taiwan.
- Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.