Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (also known as the Permanent Five, Big Five, or P5) are the five states which the UN Charter of 1945 grants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council: China (formerly the Republic of China), France, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries were all allies in World War II, which turned out victorious. They are also all nuclear weapons states. A total of 15 UN member states serve on the UNSC, the remainder of which are elected. Any one of the five permanent members have the power of veto, which enables them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of its level of international support.[1]

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Current permanent members

Country Current state representation Former state representation Current executive leaders Current representative
China  People's Republic of China (from 1971) Republic of China (1945–1971) President: Xi Jinping
Premier: Li Keqiang[note 1]
Ma Zhaoxu[2]
 France French Fifth Republic (from 1958) Provisional Government of the French Republic (1945–1946)
 French Fourth Republic (1946–1958)
President: Emmanuel Macron
Prime Minister: Édouard Philippe
François Delattre[2]
 Russia  Russian Federation (from 1991)  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1945–1991) President: Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev
Vasily Nebenzya[2]
 United Kingdom  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (from 1945) Prime Minister: Theresa May Karen Pierce[2]
 United States  United States of America (from 1945) President: Donald Trump Jonathan Cohen[2]
1945 UNSC P5 + colonies
The original permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 1945 (dark blue) with their respective colonies and other holdings shown (pale blue).

At the UN's founding in 1945, the five permanent members of the Security Council were the French Republic, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There have been two seat changes since then, although not reflected in Article 23 of the United Nations Charter as it has not been accordingly amended:

Vladimir Putin at the Millennium Summit 6-8 September 2000-23
Leaders of the five permanent member states at a summit in 2000. Clockwise from front left: Chinese President Jiang Zemin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and French President Jacques Chirac.

Additionally, France reformed its provisional government into the French Fourth Republic in 1946 and later into the French Fifth Republic in 1958, both under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle. France maintained its seat as there was no change in its international status or recognition, although many of its overseas possessions eventually became independent.

The five permanent members of the Security Council were the victorious powers in World War II and have maintained the world's most powerful military forces ever since. They annually top the list of countries with the highest military expenditures; in 2011, they spent over US$1 trillion combined on defence, accounting for over 60% of global military expenditures (the U.S. alone accounting for over 40%). They are also five of the world's six largest arms exporters, along with Germany[3] and are the only nations officially recognised as "nuclear-weapon states" under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), though there are other states known or believed to be in possession of nuclear weapons.

Veto power

The "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the permanent members, enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft. The veto does not apply to procedural votes, which is significant in that the Security Council's permanent membership can vote against a "procedural" draft resolution, without necessarily blocking its adoption by the Council.

The veto is exercised when any permanent member—the so-called "P5"—casts a "negative" vote on a "substantive" draft resolution. Abstention or absence from the vote by a permanent member does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted.


G4 Nations
The G4 nations that support one another's bids for permanent seats on the UN Security Council[4]

There have been proposals suggesting the introduction of new permanent members. The candidates usually mentioned are Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan. They comprise the group of four countries known as the G4 nations, which mutually support one another's bids for permanent seats.

This sort of reform has traditionally been opposed by the Uniting for Consensus group, which is composed primarily of nations that are regional rivals and economic competitors of the G4. The group is led by Italy and Spain (opposing Germany), Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina (opposing Brazil), Pakistan (opposing India), and South Korea (opposing Japan), in addition to Turkey, Indonesia and others. Since 1992, Italy and other council members have instead proposed semi-permanent seats or expanding the number of temporary seats.[5]

Most of the leading candidates for permanent membership are regularly elected onto the Security Council by their respective groups. Japan was elected for eleven two-year terms, Brazil for ten terms, and Germany for three terms. India has been elected to the council seven times in total, with the most recent successful bid being in 2010 after a gap of almost twenty years since 1991–92.

In 2013, the P5 and G4 members of the UN Security Council accounted for eight of the world's ten largest defence budgets, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Current leaders of the permanent members

The following are the heads of state and government that represent the permanent members of the UN Security Council as of 2019:

Xi Jinping 2016

China Xi Jinping
President of the
People's Republic of China

since 14 March 2013
(de facto leader since 15 November 2012)[note 1]

Vladimir Putin (2017-07-08)

Russia Vladimir Putin
President of the
Russian Federation

since 7 May 2012
(de facto leader
since 7 May 2000)

See also


  1. ^ a b The de jure head of government of China is the Premier, whose current holder is Li Keqiang. The President of China is legally a ceremonial office, but the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (de facto leader) has always held this office since 1993 except for the months of transition, and the current paramount leader is President Xi Jinping.


  1. ^ "The UN Security Council". United Nations Foundation. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  2. ^ Nichols, Michelle (27 July 2012). "United Nations fails to agree landmark arms-trade treaty". NewsDaily. Reuters. Retrieved 28 July 2012. One of the reasons this month's negotiations are taking place is that the United States, the world's biggest arms trader accounting for over 40 percent of global conventional arms transfers, reversed U.S. policy on the issue after Barack Obama became president and decided in 2009 to support a treaty....The other five top arms suppliers are Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
  3. ^ "Countries Welcome Work Plan as Security Council Reform Process Commences New Phase | Center for UN Reform Education". Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Italian Model" (PDF). Global Policy Forum. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2009.
2006 Montenegrin independence referendum

An independence referendum was held in Montenegro on 21 May 2006. It was approved by 55.5% of voters, narrowly passing the 55% threshold. By 23 May, preliminary referendum results were recognized by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, suggesting widespread international recognition if Montenegro were to become formally independent. On 31 May, the referendum commission officially confirmed the results of the referendum, verifying that 55.5% of the population of Montenegrin voters had voted in favor of independence. Because voters met the controversial threshold requirement of 55% approval set by the European Union, the referendum was incorporated into a declaration of independence during a special parliamentary session on 31 May. The Assembly of the Republic of Montenegro made a formal Declaration of Independence on Saturday 3 June.In response to the announcement, the government of Serbia declared itself the legal and political successor of Serbia and Montenegro, and that the government and parliament of Serbia itself would soon adopt a new constitution. The European Union, the United States, China, and Russia all expressed their intentions to respect the referendum's results.

Aftermath of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; Persian: برنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, romanized: barnāmeye jāme'e eqdāme moshtarak, acronym: برجام BARJAM), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union.

In February 2019 the International Atomic Energy Agency certified that Iran was still abiding by the deal.

Arihant-class submarine

The Arihant class (Sanskrit, for Slayer of Enemies) is a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines being built for the Indian Navy. They were developed under the ₹90,000 crore (US$13 billion) Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project to design and build nuclear-powered submarines.The lead vessel of the class, INS Arihant was launched in 2009 and after extensive sea trials, was confirmed to be commissioned in August 2016.Arihant is the first ballistic missile submarine to have been built by a country other than one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Baruch Plan

The Baruch Plan was a proposal by the United States government, written largely by Bernard Baruch but based on the Acheson–Lilienthal Report, to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) during its first meeting in June 1946. The United States, Great Britain and Canada called for an international organization to regulate atomic energy and President Truman responded by asking Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson and David E. Lilienthal to draw up a plan. Baruch's version of the proposal was rejected by the Soviet Union, who feared the plan would preserve the American nuclear monopoly. Its collapse led to the beginning of the Cold War arms race.

Bruneian passport

Bruneian passports are issued to citizens of Brunei for the purpose of international travel.

China–United Kingdom relations

Chinese-United Kingdom relations (simplified Chinese: 中英关系; traditional Chinese: 中英關係; pinyin: Zhōng-Yīng guānxì), more commonly known as British–Chinese relations, Anglo-Chinese relations and Sino-British relations, refers to the interstate relations between China (with its various governments through history) and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China were on opposing sides of the Cold War. Both countries are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Foreign relations of Montenegro

In a referendum on 21 May 2006, the people of Montenegro opted to leave the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This result was confirmed with a declaration of independence by the Montenegrin parliament on 3 June 2006. It simultaneously requested international recognition and outlined foreign policy goals.

As enumerated in the parliamentary declaration of 3 June 2006, Montenegro's near-term primary foreign policy objectives are integration into the European Union, membership in the United Nations, to which it was admitted on 28 June 2006 and in NATO.Russia gave official recognition on 11 June, 2006, and was the first permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to do so. The European Council of Ministers recognized Montenegrin independence on 12 June, as did the United States. The United Kingdom extended recognition on 13 June. The last two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, France and the People's Republic of China recognised the government of Montenegro on 14 June.

On 30 November 2006, the Government adopted the Memorandum of Agreement between Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia on Consular Protection and Services to the Citizens of Montenegro. By this agreement, Serbia, through its network of diplomatic and consular missions, provides consular services to the Montenegrin citizens on the territory of states in which Montenegro has no missions of its own. In October 2008, Montenegro recognized Kosovo.

Four Policemen

The term "Four Policemen" refers to a post-war council consisting of the "Big Four" that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed as a guarantor of world peace. The members of the Big Four, called the Four Powers during World War II, were the four major Allies of World War II: the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and China. The United Nations envisioned by Roosevelt consisted of three branches: an executive branch comprising the Big Four, an enforcement branch composed of the same four great powers acting as the Four Policemen or Four Sheriffs, and an international assembly representing the member nations of the UN.The Four Policemen would be responsible for keeping order within their spheres of influence: Britain in its empire and in Western Europe; the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the central Eurasian landmass; China in East Asia and the Western Pacific; and the United States in the Western hemisphere. As a preventive measure against new wars, countries other than the Four Policemen were to be disarmed. Only the Four Policemen would be allowed to possess any weapons more powerful than a rifle.As a compromise with internationalist critics, the Big Four nations became the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, with significantly less power than envisioned in the Four Policemen proposal. When the United Nations was officially established in later 1945, France was in due course added as the fifth member of the council at that time due to the insistence of Churchill.

Iran nuclear deal framework

The Iran nuclear deal framework was a preliminary framework agreement reached in 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and a group of world powers: the P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany) and the European Union.

Negotiations for a framework deal over the nuclear program of Iran took place between the foreign ministers of the countries at a series of meetings held from March 26 to April 2, 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland. On April 2 the talks came to a conclusion and a press conference was held by Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and Mohammad Javad Zarif (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran) to announce that the eight parties had reached an agreement on a framework deal. The parties announced, "Today, we have taken a decisive step: we have reached solutions on key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," which they intended to complete by June 30. Announcing the framework, Foreign Minister Zarif stated: "No agreement has been reached so we do not have any obligation yet. Nobody has obligations now other than obligations that we already undertook under the Joint Plan of Action that we adopted in Geneva in November 2013."The framework deal was embodied in a document published by the EU's European External Action Service titled Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Switzerland, and in a document published by the U.S. Department of State titled Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program.On July 14, 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 and EU, a comprehensive agreement based on the April 2015 framework, was announced.On May 8, 2018, United States President Donald Trump announced the United States was withdrawing from the deal.

List of parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

The list of parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty encompasses the states which have signed and ratified or acceded to the international agreement limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.

On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was opened for signature. The three depositary states were the Soviet Union (and later its successor state Russia), the United Kingdom, the United States; states wishing to become a party to the NPT must deposit their instruments of ratification, accession or succession with at least one of the depositary governments. The treaty came into force and closed for signature on 5 March 1970 with the deposit of ratification of the three depositary states and 40 others. Since then, states that did not sign the treaty may only accede to it.

The treaty recognizes five states as nuclear-weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council). China and France acceded to the treaty in 1992. Four other states are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapons program. India, Israel, and Pakistan have never signed the treaty, while North Korea was a party to the treaty but announced its withdrawal on 10 January 2003, which became effective ninety days later. However, there is disagreement among the parties to the treaty whether North Korea's withdrawal was in conformity with the terms of the treaty.The NPT remains the most widely subscribed to nuclear arms control treaty in history. As of February 2015, 190 states are recognized as parties to the treaty, excluding North Korea which withdrew. The State of Palestine is the most recent state to have joined, having submitted its instrument of succession on 10 February 2015. In addition, the Republic of China (Taiwan), which is currently only recognized by 16 UN member states, ratified the treaty prior to the United Nations General Assembly's vote to transfer China's seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1971; Taiwan has accepted comprehensive IAEA safeguards and the measures of the Additional Protocol to verify that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Four UN member states have never signed the treaty: India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan. The Cook Islands and Niue, two associated states of New Zealand which have had their "full treaty-making capacity" recognised by United Nations Secretariat, are not parties to the treaty but consider themselves bound by its provisions by virtue of their administration by New Zealand when the latter ratified the NPT.

North–South divide

The North–South divide is broadly considered a socio-economic and political divide. Generally, definitions of the Global North include the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand. The Global South is made up of Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia including the Middle East. The North is home to all the members of the G8 and to four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

The North mostly covers the West and the First World, along with much of the Second World, while the South largely corresponds with the Third World. While the North may be defined as the richer, more developed region and the South as the poorer, less developed region, many more factors differentiate between the two global areas. 95% of the North has enough food and shelter. The Global South "lacks appropriate technology, it has no political stability, the economies are disarticulated, and their foreign exchange earnings depend on primary product exports." Nevertheless, the divide between the North and the South increasingly "corresponds less and less to reality and is increasingly challenged."In economic terms, the North—with one quarter of the world population—controls four-fifths of the income earned anywhere in the world. 90% of the manufacturing industries are owned by and located in the North. Inversely, the South—with three quarters of the world population—has access to one-fifth of the world income. As nations become economically developed, they may become part of the "North", regardless of geographical location; similarly, any nations that do not qualify for "developed" status are in effect deemed to be part of the "South".

Smiling Buddha

Smiling Buddha (MEA designation: Pokhran-I) was the assigned code name of India's first successful nuclear bomb test on 18 May 1974. The bomb was detonated on the army base, Pokhran Test Range (PTR), in Rajasthan by the Indian Army under the supervision of several key Indian generals.Pokhran-I was also the first confirmed nuclear weapons test by a nation outside the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Officially, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) claimed this test was a "peaceful nuclear explosion", but it was an accelerated nuclear programme.

Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty

The Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) or the Bangkok Treaty of 1995, is a nuclear weapons moratorium treaty between 10 Southeast Asian member-states under the auspices of the ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It was opened for signature at the treaty conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on 15 December 1995 and it entered into force on March 28, 1997 and obliges its members not to develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons.

The Zone is the area comprising the territories of the states and their respective continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ); "Territory" means the land territory, internal waters, territorial sea, archipelagic waters, the seabed and the sub-soil thereof and the airspace above them.

The treaty includes a protocol under which the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), namely China, the United States, France, Russia and the United Kingdom (who are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) undertake to respect the Treaty and do not contribute to a violation of it by State parties. None of the nuclear-weapon states have signed this protocol.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 was a resolution endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the nuclear program of Iran. It sets out an inspection process and schedule while also preparing for the removal of United Nations sanctions against Iran. The 15 nations on the Security Council unanimously endorsed the resolution, which had been negotiated by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany, the European Union, and Iran.After the resolution, the Iranian Foreign Affairs minister said: ″The Iranian nation should feel fundamental changes in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231″

On March 29, 2016, the United States, the UK, France, and Germany wrote a joint letter to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon accusing Iran of "defying" Security Council Resolution 2231 through missile tests conducted since the deal. The letter said the missiles were "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons". However, it stopped short of saying the tests were illegal. Resolution 2231 calls for Iran to refrain from activity related to nuclear-capable missiles ("Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology"), but according to diplomats the language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced with punitive measures.

United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

On May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.Unofficially known as the "Iran Deal" or the "Iran Nuclear Deal", the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is an agreement on Iran's nuclear program reached in July 2015 by Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) and the European Union. In a joint statement responding to the U.S. withdrawal, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom stated that United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal remained the "binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute".The withdrawal caused concerns in Iran due to its impact on the economy. The withdrawal was praised by American conservatives in the United States, who saw the deal as weak. Others in the US, including former president Barack Obama and his vice president Joe Biden, criticized the decision, while various European countries that were signatories, including the UK, France, and Germany, expressed regret at the decision.On 17 May 2018 the European Commission announced its intention to implement the blocking statute of 1996 to declare the US sanctions against Iran illegal in Europe and ban European citizens and companies from complying with them. The commission also instructed the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran.

United States withdrawal from the United Nations

United States withdrawal from the United Nations refers to various proposals for the United States to terminate its membership in the United Nations, where it is one of the founding members and one of the five Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. These proposals are often motivated by a perceived threat to U.S. sovereignty, or theories that the U.N. is a potential world government.

Alabama congressman Mike Rogers has called to leave the UN. Utah state representative Don Bush, has claimed that many programs by the supranational entity have violated the US Constitution, such as the implementation of the International Court of Justice and the Law of the Sea Treaty, both of which the United States does not currently endorse.The U.S. withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in October 2017 and July 2018 respectively.

United Nations System
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