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.
|China||(from 1971)||Republic of China (1945–1971)||President: Xi Jinping|
Premier: Li KeqiangThe de jure head of government of China is the Premier, whose current holder is Li Keqiang. The President of China is legally a figurehead, 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.
|French Fifth Republic (from 1958)||Provisional Government of the French Republic (1945–1946)|
|President: Emmanuel Macron|
Prime Minister: Édouard Philippe
|(from 1991)||(1945–1991)||President: Vladimir Putin|
Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev
|(from 1945)||—||Prime Minister: Theresa May||Karen Pierce|
|(from 1945)||—||President: Donald Trump||Jonathan Cohen|
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 of the United Nations Charter as it has not been accordingly amended:
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 French Community 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 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.
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.
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.
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).
File:Emmanuel Macron during his meeting with Vladimir Putin, June 2017.jpg| Emmanuel Macron
President of the
File:Vladimir Putin (2017-07-08).jpg| Vladimir Putin
President of the
( de facto leader
File:Theresa May closeup.jpg| Theresa May
Prime Minister of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
File:Official Portrait of President Donald Trump (cropped).jpg| Donald Trump
President of the
United States of America