Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council

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The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. UNSC P5.PNG
The 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 they won. 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]

United Nations Security Council one of the six principal organs of the UN, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946.

China State in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Republic of China (1912–1949) 1912–1949 country in Asia, historical period of the present-day Republic of China (Taiwan)

The Republic of China (ROC) was a state and republic in East Asia, which ruled the Chinese mainland and Mongolia from 1912, when it was established by the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China, to 1949, when its government fled to Taipei due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic of China's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army. His party, then led by Song Jiaoren won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.

Contents

Current permanent members

CountryCurrent state representationFormer state representationCurrent executive leaders Current representative
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg ChinaFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Republic of China (from 1971)Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China (1945–1971)President: Xi Jinping
Premier: Li Keqiang [note 1]
Ma Zhaoxu [2]
Flag of France.svg  France Flag of France.svg French Fifth Republic (from 1958)Flag of France.svg Provisional Government of the French Republic (1945–1946)
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  French Fourth Republic (1946–1958)
President: Emmanuel Macron
Prime Minister: Édouard Philippe
François Delattre [2]
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Russia.svg  Russian Federation (from 1991)Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1945–1991)President: Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev
Vasily Nebenzya [2]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (from 1945)Prime Minister: Theresa May Karen Pierce [2]
Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America (from 1945)President: Donald Trump Jonathan Cohen [2]
The original permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 1945 (dark blue) with their respective colonies and other holdings shown (pale blue). 1945 UNSC P5 + colonies.png
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:

Provisional Government of the French Republic former country

The Provisional Government of the French Republic was an interim government of Free France between 1944 and 1946 following the liberation of continental France after Operations Overlord and Dragoon, and lasted until the establishment of the French Fourth Republic. Its establishment marked the official restoration and re-establishment of a provisional French Republic, assuring continuity with the defunct French Third Republic.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk.

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. Vladimir Putin at the Millennium Summit 6-8 September 2000-23.jpg
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.

China is one of the charter members of the United Nations and is one of five permanent members of its Security Council. It has used its veto the least of any of the permanent members.

Nationalist government Government of the Republic of China between 1927 to 1948

The Nationalist government, officially the National Government of the Republic of China or the Second Republic of China, refers to the government of the Republic of China between 1 July 1925 to 20 May 1948, led by the Kuomintang. The name derives from the Kuomintang's translated name "Nationalist Party". The government was in place until it was replaced by the current Government of the Republic of China in the newly promulgated Constitution of the Republic of China was established in its place.

Chinese Civil War 1927–1950 civil war in China

The Chinese Civil War was a war fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Although particular attention is paid to the four years of Chinese Communist Revolution from 1945 to 1949, the war actually started in August 1927, with the White Terror at the end of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Northern Expedition, and essentially ended when major hostilities between the two sides ceased in 1950. The conflict took place in two stages: the first between 1927 and 1937, and the second from 1946 to 1950, with the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937–1945 separating them. The war marked a major turning point in modern Chinese history, with the Communists gaining control of mainland China and establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the Republic of China (ROC) to retreat to Taiwan. It resulted in a lasting political and military standoff between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, with the ROC in Taiwan and the PRC in mainland China both officially claiming to be the legitimate government of all China.

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.

French Fourth Republic government of France between 1946 and 1958

The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic that was in place from 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War to 1940 during World War II, and suffered many of the same problems. France adopted the constitution of the Fourth Republic on 13 October 1946.

French Fifth Republic fifth and current republican constitution of France since 1958

The Fifth Republic, France's current republican system of government, was established by Charles de Gaulle under the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the Fourth Republic, replacing the former parliamentary republic with a semi-presidential, or dual-executive, system that split powers between a Prime Minister as head of government and a President as head of state. De Gaulle, who was the first French President elected under the Fifth Republic in December 1958, believed in a strong head of state, which he described as embodying l'esprit de la nation.

Charles de Gaulle 18th President of the French Republic

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French army officer and statesman who led the French Resistance against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946 in order to reestablish democracy in France. In 1958, he came out of retirement when appointed President of the Council of Ministers by President René Coty. He was asked to rewrite the Constitution of France and founded the Fifth Republic after approval by referendum. He was elected President of France later that year, a position he was reelected to in 1965 and held until his resignation in 1969. He was the dominant figure of France during the Cold War era, and his memory continues to influence French politics.

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.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons international treaty (to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament)

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. Between 1965 and 1968, the treaty was negotiated by the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, a United Nations-sponsored organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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.

Abstention is a term in election procedure for when a participant in a vote either does not go to vote or, in parliamentary procedure, is present during the vote, but does not cast a ballot. Abstention must be contrasted with "blank vote", in which a voter casts a ballot willfully made invalid by marking it wrongly or by not marking anything at all. A "blank voter" has voted, although their vote may be considered a spoilt vote, depending on each legislation, while an abstaining voter hasn't voted. Both forms may or may not, depending on the circumstances, be considered to be a protest vote.

Expansion

The G4 nations that support one another's bids for permanent seats on the UN Security Council G4 Nations.svg
The G4 nations that support one another's bids for permanent seats on the UN Security Council

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:

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 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.

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The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. Unlike the G7, where the common denominator is the economy and long-term political motives, the G4's primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council. Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN's establishment. Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5). However, the G4's bids are often opposed by the Uniting for Consensus movement, and particularly their economic competitors or political rivals.

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United Nations Security Council veto power Power to veto U.N.S.C. resolutions

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United Kingdom and the United Nations

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References

  1. "The UN Security Council". unfoundation.org. 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". CenterforUNReform.org. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  4. "Italian Model" (PDF). Global Policy Forum. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2009.