Secretary-General's press conference
Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 2010SG: Minasan, konnichiwa. Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure. As I am winding down my visit to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, I think this is a good opportunity for me to tell you something about my own reflections and what I am going to do. And I will just make a brief remarks; then I would be happy to answer your questions.
It was a great honour and privilege for me to participate in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the first time in 65 years. To see the Atomic Bomb Dome, to stand with so many thousands of people and reflect on what happened here and on its meaning for humankind.
I have come to remember the victims, and to honour the survivors – the hibakusha.
But I am also here to join the people of Hiroshima in looking forward.
I carry a message of hope, a message of peace – and a call to action – to build a world free of nuclear weapons.
The United Nations is working towards this goal.
This is not just our common dream – it is common sense.
More countries are trying to acquire weapons. Terrorists are seeking them. All of this makes our world more unstable. More dangerous. Less secure.
As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat exists.
If we want to get rid of the threat, we need to get rid of the weapons.
That is why in 2008, I proposed a five-point plan for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
There have been some promising steps:
The successful conclusion of the NPT Review Conference in New York. In Washington, the nuclear security summit. The agreement by Russia and the United States on a new START Treaty.
We must build on this momentum. In September, I will convene a first-of-its-kind high-level meeting in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament.
I will push for negotiations towards nuclear disarmament.
A Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
A Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.
I hope the powerful message of today's ceremony will echo around the world: We must disarm now. For peace, for security, and for our children.
I salute Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima and Mayor Taue of Nagasaki and the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for their efforts on behalf of world peace. And I am proud to join them in their cause. Thank you very much.
Q: Welcome to Hiroshima. Well, the first question, Secretary-General: how and what will the United Nations do vis-à-vis the nuclear-weapon states for the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020? And how and what will the United Nations do for the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention and what is your view on the possible role that could be played by the Government of Japan toward this end?
SG: The NPT Review Conference, which was held in New York, again reaffirmed and committed the Member States and particularly nuclear-weapons states to reduce, diminish the importance of nuclear weapons and the role of nuclear weapons in all of their political and military and security doctrines. Nuclear-weapons states are committed to that. That is encouraging. Russia and the United States have extended this new START Treaty, and the United States and United Kingdom have recently announced the number of warheads as a part of making transparent information on nuclear policies. These are some encouraging developments.
In addition to many meetings, which I have already stated in my earlier remarks, I'm going to convene a high-level [meeting in support of the] Conference on Disarmament. And such efforts will continue. As you know, in 2012, in the Republic of Korea, this Nuclear Security Summit will build upon what they had discussed last May in Washington. The UN will continue to work together with the world powers to realize a nuclear-weapon-free world, as well as eventually to have a nuclear weapons convention that is to work together with all Member States of the United Nations.
Q: The next question, Secretary-General, is: would you please give us what was your impression after you met with Mayor Akiba yesterday and also you heard the testimony by hibakusha – A-bomb survivors – in Hiroshima and you met with the representatives of the A-bomb survivors' organizations. So what were your impressions?
SG: First of all, I was very much moved after having met many hibakusha in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The suffering was unimaginable and the courage and fortitude had been extraordinary, and I paid my deepest admiration and respect for their courage, and their devotion to this nuclear-weapon-free world was quite inspiring to me, and they have given me a good direction [as to] what the United Nations Secretary-General and what other world powers should do in helping them realize their dreams and aspirations to see the end of nuclear weapons. That was [a] most profoundly moving experience for me to meet with them. Those meetings with them have strengthened my determination to work even harder and harder. That is my own personal impression and reflection on having met them. At the same time, I believe that their testimonies, their stories, must be told to all of humanity, and, if possible, their stories must be digitally recorded and preserved and taught to many young generations to give them inspiration, to give the lessons that we should not see any such tragedies anywhere, anytime in the world.