It is my great honour to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. This city has emerged to become a beacon for global peace and understanding.
I was profoundly moved upon seeing this for myself when I travelled to Nagasaki last year to take part in this ceremony. The testimony of the hibakusha – the brave survivors – touched my heart, along with their devotion to ensuring that the great tragedy that befell this city is never visited upon any other.
Last year in Nagasaki, I spoke of the continued threat of nuclear war. In the face of rising tensions between nuclear armed States and the demise of existing arms control and disarmament treaties, the nuclear danger persists.
The international community must join forces to safeguard the security benefits that existing treaties bring to us all. We must work together to strengthen cooperation, trust and transparency, which are the foundation for real dialogue and negotiations.
But we must do even more. The only true guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination. This remains the United Nations’ – and my personal – highest disarmament priority.
There is no stronger case for this goal than the testimony of the hibakusha. I am grateful for the work of civil society, the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the government of Japan in preserving that testimony for the benefit of future generations.
To those young people, future peacemakers of the world, my message is clear: you are the ultimate force for change to secure our common future.
By carrying the message forward together, we will achieve our shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.