China’s president has pressed world leaders to stop making threats and prevent the use of nuclear weapons in Europe and Asia as rhetoric over Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to heat up.
President Xi Jinping made the plea after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Beijing on Friday, the official Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.
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“The international community should … jointly oppose the use or threats to use nuclear weapons, advocate that nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought, in order to prevent a nuclear crisis in Eurasia,” Xi said.
A statement on Xi’s comments did not mention any specific nations related to nuclear threats, however, rhetoric by world leaders discussing atomic arms has heightened in recent weeks. Fears have intensified that Russia’s eight-month conflict in Ukraine could turn nuclear.
Moscow would face “severe consequences” if it uses any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine, the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations warned on Friday.
NATO began a round of nuclear exercises in October simulating the dropping of “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs over Europe. The manoeuvres occurred in parallel to similar Russian military drills. Both sides described the exercises as routine.
Russia alleged last month that Ukraine forces were planning to detonate a “dirty bomb” in Ukraine and blame it on Moscow in order to drive global opinion against it. A dirty bomb is a conventional explosive device laced with radioactive materials.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog said this week it found no sign of “undeclared nuclear activities” at three sites it inspected in Ukraine at Kyiv’s request following Russia’s allegations.
US President Joe Biden recently warned the world could face “Armageddon” if his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, were to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
Putin said in September he was “not bluffing” about using nuclear arms if Russian territories – including regions in Ukraine illegally annexed – were threatened by NATO forces. He accused NATO nations of “nuclear blackmail” and planning to “destroy” Russia.
Moscow later downplayed the threat to use atomic weapons and said any confrontation with the United States and NATO was not in the Kremlin’s interests.
The Russian leader said last week that Moscow had no intentions of employing nuclear arms in the Ukraine war. “We see no need for that. There is no point in that, neither political nor military,” said Putin.
Biden responded in an interview, if Putin doesn’t intend to use such weapons, then “why does he keep talking about it?”
“If he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it?” President Joe Biden says about Russia President Vladimir Putin’s statement that he has no intent to use nuclear warfare in Ukraine.
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) October 27, 2022