Lead 1-nuclear Iranian-Resuming Negotiations, Tehran focuses on the lifting of sanctions
Iran-nuclear / (Lead 1): Iranian Lead 1-nuclear-Resumption of negotiations, Tehran focuses on the lifting of penalties ( Added effective recovery of negotiations) Dubai, December 27 (Reuters) - Indirect negotiations between Iran and the United States to try to safeguard the Iranian Nuclear 2015 Covenant resumed on Monday, Tehran focusing on the lifting of American sanctions taken against him.
China said on Tuesday it will continue to "modernise" its nuclear arsenal and called on the United States and Russia to reduce their own stockpiles a day after global powers pledged to prevent such weapons from spreading.
In a rare joint statement setting aside rising West-East tensions, the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France reaffirmed their goal of creating a world free of atomic weapons and avoiding a nuclear conflict.
Iranian Lead 1-Nuclear-Iran and Russia are optimistic about
Iran-Nuclear / (Lead 1, Photo) discussions: Iranian Lead 1-nuclear-Iran and Russia are optimistic about the discussions (updated with statement by the head of the Russian delegation, context) Dubai, 28 December (Reuters) - Iran and Russia expressed on Tuesday of their optimism about the advancement of the discussions in Vienna, Austria, to attempt Save the 2015 agreement on Iranian nuclear power.
The five nuclear powers also committed to full future disarmament from atomic weapons, which have only been used in conflict in the US bombings of Japan at the end of World War II.
But squaring that rhetoric with reality will not be easy at a time of spiralling tensions between those same global powers not seen since the Cold War.
There are growing global concerns about China's rapid military modernisation especially after its armed forces last year announced they had developed a hypersonic missile that can fly at five times the spread of sound.
The United States has also said China is expanding its nuclear arsenal with as many as 700 warheads by 2027 and possibly 1,000 by 2030.
On Tuesday, China defended its nuclear weapons policy and said Russia and the United States -- by far the world's largest nuclear powers -- should make the first move on disarmament.
2022 will be the last year of nuclear power in Germany
"The US and Russia still possess 90 percent of the nuclear warheads on Earth," Fu Cong, director general of the department of arms control at the Chinese foreign ministry, told reporters.
"They must reduce their nuclear arsenal in an irreversible and legally binding manner."
Fu dismissed US claims that China was vastly increasing its nuclear capabilities.
"China has always adopted the no first use policy and we maintain our nuclear capabilities at the minimal level required for our national security," he said.
But he said Beijing would "continue to modernise its nuclear arsenal for reliability and safety issues".
Video: Hong Kong's Carrie Lam defends Stand News crackdown (Reuters)
- Taiwan, Ukraine -
Ties between Beijing and Washington have been strained over a series of issues including China's intentions to take Taiwan, which it claims as part of its territory, by force if necessary.
Germany to close nuclear reactors despite energy crisis
Germany will shut down three nuclear power plants on Friday even as Europe faces one of its worst ever energy crises, following Angela Merkel's timetable for phasing out atomic energy. Germany is planning to completely wind down atomic energy by the end of 2022, when it will shut its final three plants in Neckarwestheim, Essenbach and Emsland. But with energy prices soaring across Europe, the timing of the plans coming to fruition could hardly be worse. Europe's reference gas price, Dutch TTF, hit 187.78 euros per megawatt hour in December -- 10 times higher than at the start of the year -- and electricity prices are also soaring.
Beijing's sabre-rattling towards Taiwan has reached new heights under President Xi Jinping, China's most authoritarian leader in a generation.
Fu dismissed speculation over the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons near the Taiwan Strait.
"Nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrent, they are not for war or fighting," he said.
While the United States and Russia have had a formal strategic stability dialogue since the days of the Cold War, producing several disarmament agreements, that is not the case between Washington and Beijing.
In Europe, tensions with Moscow have deteriorated over a Russian troop build-up close to the Ukrainian border.
That has raised fears that the Kremlin, worried by the possibility of further eastward expansion of NATO, is planning a new attack on its pro-Western neighbour.
Crunch talks between Russia and the US on European security are expected in Geneva on January 10.
Against this backdrop, Monday's joint statement on nuclear weapons was a rare moment of consensus between the UN's five permanent Security Council members.
"A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," the statement said, adding that "further spread of such weapons must be prevented".
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 also pledged to abide by a key article in the NPT under which states committed to full future disarmament from nuclear weapons.
The joint statement also came as the world powers seek to reach an agreement with Iran on reviving the 2015 deal over its controversial nuclear drive, which was rendered moribund by the US walking out of the accord in 2018.
US says only 'a few weeks left' to save Iran nuclear deal .
There are only "a few weeks left" to save the Iran nuclear deal, and the United States is ready to look at "other options" if negotiations fail, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday. "We have, I think, a few weeks left to see if we can get back to mutual compliance," Blinken said in an interview with US public radio station NPR. "We're very, very short on time," because "Iran is getting closer and closer to the point where they could produce on very, very short order enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon," he said.