In his historic visit to Hiroshima, the first by an American president to the only city to be bombed by atomic weapons, US President Barack Obama called for a moral revolution to eliminate nuclear weapons.
The US leader laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on May 27 and called for a moral cleansing to avoid Hiroshima-like catastrophe.
“Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Mr Obama said at the memorial.
“Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us,” he said and stressed that such technology “requires a moral revolution as well.”
The US president also warmly hugged survivors of the attack whose dark memories continue to resonate to this day.
Mr Obama stressed that the memory of August 6, 1945 must never fade. However, he did not apologise for the US attack on Hiroshima, the world’s first nuclear bombing.
Speaking to a number of survivors, Mr Obama in an address asked nations to pursue a world without nuclear weapons. Nearly 140,000 people died in Hiroshima and another 74,000 died two days later in a second bombing in Nagasaki.
Visiting the nearby Iwakuni Marine Corp base nearby, after leaving the G7 summit, Mr Obama spoke to the service personnel at the base. “This is an opportunity to honour the memory of all who were lost during World War Two. “It’s a chance to reaffirm our commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world where nuclear weapons would no longer be necessary.”
Praising the US-Japan alliance as “one of the strongest in the world”, Mr Obama said that his visit was a testament to how even the most painful divides can be bridged. He emphasised that the two nations, former adversaries, cannot just become partners, but become the best of friends and the strongest of allies.
Speaking about the strategic significance of the partnership, Mr Obama said: “As president, I made sure that the United States is leading again in the Asia Pacific, because this region is vital.”
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