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On Monday, the US, China, Russia, the UK and France issued a rare joint statement setting aside increasing tensions between the East and the West. The five nuclear powers reaffirmed their goal of creating a world free of atomic weapons in a bid to avoid a nuclear war.
They also committed to full future disarmament from atomic weapons.
But just a day after the statement was issued, China demanded Washington and Moscow reduce the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenal.
Fu Cong, director general of the department of arms control at the Chinese foreign ministry, said: “The US and Russia still possess 90 percent of the nuclear warheads on Earth.
“They must reduce their nuclear arsenal in an irreversible and legally binding manner.”
He went on to dismiss US claims that China was vastly increasing its nuclear capabilities.
Mr Cong continued: “China has always adopted the no first use policy and we maintain our nuclear capabilities at the minimal level required for our national security.
“Nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrent, they are not for war or fighting.”
He added how Beijing would “continue to modernise its nuclear arsenal for reliability and safety issues”.
Washington also said China is expanding its nuclear arsenal with as many as 700 warheads by 2027 and a further 1,000 by 2030.
Monday’s joint statement on nuclear weapons was issued after the latest review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The statement read: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
It added how “further spread of such weapons must be prevented”.
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The statement also pledged to abide by a key article in the NPT – which first came into force in 1970 – under which states committed to full disarmament of nuclear weapons.
When Joe Biden was first sworn in as US President, experts predicted that he would scale back President Donald Trump’s buildup in nuclear weapons funding.
During his campaign, he even advocated for a “no first use” policy, meaning that the US should only consider attacking a target with a nuclear weapon as retaliation to a nuclear attack, not as a preemptive strike.
The campaign website says Biden believes “the sole purpose of the US nuclear arsenal should be deterring — and if necessary, retaliating against — a nuclear attack.
He said: “As president, he will work to put that belief into practice, in consultation with our allies and military.”
However, since becoming president, Mr Biden has faced significant challenges from Russia and China.
For Russia, President Vladimir Putin appears poised to invade Ukraine as 100,000 troops have descended onto the Russia-Ukraine border.
Meanwhile, China has been building up a military presence in the South China Sea and has repeatedly claimed that it should have rightful ownership of Taiwan.
Chinese warplanes have made nearly 1,000 incursions into Taiwan’s air-defence identification zone in 2021, according to Bloomberg.
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