On the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bombing of Hiroshima, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres doubled down on his harsh criticism of nuclear weapons by saying they must be ‘disappeared from the face of the Earth’ .
Mr Guterres had earlier said at the start of a UN conference that the world was only “one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”.
This time he warned of a new global arms race putting the nuclear threat “back in the spotlight” at a rally in Hiroshima.
The UN chief joined thousands of others on Saturday at the Peace Park in the center of the Japanese city to mark the anniversary of the bombing that killed 140,000 people before the end of 1945.
As the peace bell rang, the crowd gathered in the park, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, observed a minute of silence at the exact moment the bomb went off.
“Nuclear weapons are nonsense. They guarantee no security – only death and destruction,” Guterres said on the occasion.
“Three quarters of a century later, we have to wonder what we learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled over this city in 1945.”
“We cannot forget the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We must act in their memory and remove nuclear weapons from the face of the earth once and for all,” Mr. Guterres later tweeted.
“At a time when geopolitical tensions are rising and the nuclear threat is returning to center stage, Japan’s strong and consistent voice for peace is more important than ever,” he added.
However, the UN chief avoided a direct mention of Russia, which calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation”.
Prime Minister Kishida said the use of nuclear weapons is once again becoming a “real problem”, adding that the momentum for a “world without nuclear weapons” appears to be waning.
“We must not repeat the tragedy of the use of nuclear weapons, I call on the peoples of the world with a loud voice,” Kishida said.
“It is the responsibility of Japan, the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings, and my promise as Prime Minister, a native of Hiroshima,” he added.
Criticizing Moscow’s military action against Ukraine, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said the Russian leader “elected to protect the life and property of his people, uses them as instruments of war”.
“Around the world, the idea that peace depends on nuclear deterrence is gaining momentum,” Matsui warned, according to Reuters.
“These errors betray humanity’s determination, born from our experiences of war, to achieve a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons. To accept the status quo and abandon the ideal of peace maintained without military force is to threaten the very survival of the human race,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Kishida said Chinese military exercises targeting Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island posed a “serious problem” threatening peace and regional security that must be “stopped immediately”.
The Independent Gt