China, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France have agreed to avoid further nuclear arms proliferation and a nuclear war, according to a joint statement released by the Kremlin on Monday.
It stated that the five countries - who are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - view it as their primary responsibility to avert nuclear war and mitigate strategic risks, while also aiming to work with all countries to foster an atmosphere of security.
"We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," the statement's English-language version read.
"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."
France, too, issued a statement reiterating the five powers' commitment to nuclear arms control and disarmament. It stated that they would maintain bilateral and multilateral approaches to nuclear arms control.
The P5 group's statement comes as bilateral relations between the US and Russia have deteriorated to their lowest level since the Cold War's end, while relations between Washington and China have also deteriorated due to a variety of disagreements.
In November, the Pentagon sharply increased its estimate of China's future nuclear weapons arsenal, stating that Beijing could have 700 warheads by 2027 and possibly 1,000 by 2030.
Washington has repeatedly urged China to join a new arms control treaty with the United States and Russia.
Geopolitical tensions between Moscow and the West have risen as a result of concerns about Russia's military buildup near Ukraine's border. Moscow asserts that it has the authority to move its army around its own territory as it sees fit.
US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last Thursday that any move against Ukraine would result in sanctions and an increased US presence in Europe, where tensions are already high following Russia's military buildup along the border.
On Jan. 10, officials from the United States and Russia will hold security talks to discuss concerns about their respective military activities and to address rising tensions over Ukraine, the two countries announced.
The United Nations has postponed until August a conference on a major nuclear treaty that was scheduled to begin on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.