UN chief sounds nuclear warning to mark Nagasaki bombing

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons at a ceremony marking the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

TOKYO • Millions still live in fear of nuclear war with many countries ramping up their atomic arsenals, the head of the United Nations warned yesterday, marking the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing.

Mr Antonio Guterres, the first sitting UN Secretary-General to attend ceremonies honouring those who died in the bombing, said that even 73 years later, there was still a "shadow cast by the dread of unthinkable carnage".

Nuclear-armed states are spending "vast sums" to modernise their arsenals and "disarmament processes have slowed and even come to a halt", noted Mr Guterres.

"There is an urgent need for disarmament of all kinds, but especially nuclear disarmament," stressed Mr Guterres.

The US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945, killing around 140,000 people.

The toll includes those who survived the explosion itself but died soon after from severe radiation exposure.

URGENT CALL TO DISARM

There is an urgent need for disarmament of all kinds, but especially nuclear disarmament.

MR ANTONIO GUTERRES, United Nations Secretary-General, on how millions still live in fear of nuclear war happening again

Three days later, the US dropped a plutonium bomb on the port city of Nagasaki, killing some 74,000 people.

Japan announced its surrender in World War II on Aug 15, 1945.

In Nagasaki yesterday, crowds flocked to pray and pay their respects at the 10m-tall peace statue.

The ceremony came amid lingering worries over North Korea's nuclear threat and in a year when President Donald Trump has pledged to bolster the US arsenal.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue also issued a passionate call for denuclearisation.

"To the great concern of those in the atomic-bombed cities, a shift towards openly asserting that nuclear weapons are necessary and that their use could lead to increased military might is once again on the rise," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'UN chief sounds nuclear warning to mark Nagasaki bombing'. Print Edition | Subscribe