US, Russia, China Say a Nuclear War Must Never Be Fought

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council released a joint statement on nuclear weapons

On Monday, the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Russia, China, Britain, and France — released a joint statement that said a nuclear war must never be fought.

The five powers said 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,” the statement said.

While the leaders said nuclear weapons should only be used for “defensive” purposes, China and India are currently the only nuclear-armed states with a no-first-use policy.

The statement said the “spread of such weapons must be prevented” and that the powers were committed to obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Specifically, the powers said they were committed to the NPT’s 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.”

The past few years have not been good for arms control. Since the US withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, there is currently only one major piece of arms control between the US and Russia, known as the New START. The US and Russia are expected to discuss arms control during planned security talks on January 10th.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.