From Hiroshima, the UN chief warns humanity ‘playing with a loaded gun’
Tokyo, Aug 6 (EFE).- United Nations chief Antonio Guterres cautioned on Saturday about the rising stocks of nuclear weapons, warning that crises with dangerous nuclear overtones were spreading rapidly.
Guterres spoke at a ceremony commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic explosion, which killed 140,000 people and devastated two-thirds of the Japanese city.
“Nuclear weapons are nonsense. Three-quarters of a century later, we must ask what we have learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city in 1945,” the UN Secretary-General said at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
The gathering honoring those lost in the first atomic assault by the US Air Force on Aug.6, 1945, was attended by hibakusha, or survivors of the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, youth peace activists, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and other local officials.
With around 13,000 nuclear weapons now housed in arsenals throughout the world, Guterres warned that a new arms race was building up steam and that global leaders were enhancing stockpiles at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.
“Crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast — from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula, to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Humanity is playing with a loaded gun,” he cautioned.
Guterres called the current review conference of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in New York a “sign of hope.”
“Today, from this sacred space, I call on this treaty’s members to work urgently to eliminate the stockpiles that threaten our future, to strengthen dialog, diplomacy, and negotiation, and to support my disarmament agenda by eliminating these devices of destruction,” he emphasized.
Guterres underscored that countries with nuclear arsenals must commit to the “no first use” policy, and assure other states that they will not use — or threaten to use — atomic weapons against them.
“We must keep the horrors of Hiroshima in view at all times, recognizing there is only one solution to the nuclear threat: not to have nuclear weapons at all,” the UN chief stated.
He said it was time to proliferate peace and stressed that world leaders could no longer hide from their responsibilities.
“Take the nuclear option off the table — for good. Heed the message of the hibakusha: “No more Hiroshimas! No more Nagasakis,” he said.
Guterres also sent a message to the young people urging them to finish the work that the hibakusha have begun.
“The world must never forget what happened here. The memory of those who died — and the legacy of those who survived — will never be extinguished,” he said.
The Japanese prime minister stressed that the movement towards a world free of nuclear weapons “seems to be slowing down.”
Kishida called on the world to abandon atomic weapons.
“Japan will reconcile the regional security situation with its desire to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said.
Kishida, who has chosen Hiroshima as the venue of next year’s G7 summit in May, said it would be an opportunity to promote nuclear non-proliferation.
The Saturday event at the epicenter of the devastating bombing began with a minute of silence at 8:15 a.m. local time.
At 8:15 a.m. on Aug.6, 1945, the US B-29 warplane named Enola Gay dropped a bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” that obliterated the city.