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    US President Barack Obama places a wreath at the cenotaph in the Peace Momorial park in Hiroshima on May 27, 2016 with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Obama on May 27 paid a moving tribute to victims of the world's first nuclear attack

    US President Obama Participates in Wreath Laying Ceremony in Hiroshima

    © AFP 2019 / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA
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    US President Barack Obama participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.

    US President Barack Obama urged world powers on Friday to show courage and reduce their arsenals of nuclear weapons to avoid catastrophe in an address in Hiroshima, Japan.

    "Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them," Obama said.

    The US president admitted the goal was hard to reach but said a course could be charted toward the ultimate destruction of nuclear arsenals in the distant future.

    "We may not realize this goal in my lifetime but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. We can chart a course that can lead to the destruction of these stockpiles. We can stop the spread to new nations and secure deadly materials from fanatics," he said.

    Obama is the first serving US president to come to Hiroshima. His trip was timed to a G7 summit of industrialized countries in Ise-Shima. Hiroshima was the site of the first-ever nuclear bombing in 1945 when a US warplane dropped an atomic bomb on it, killing about 140,000 people.

    Obama said that the visit to Hiroshima would stress commitment to a nuclear-free world.

    US President Barack Obama's visit to Hiroshima and his calls for a nuclear-free world open a new chapter in reconciliation of the United States and Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Abe said in his turn.

    According to Abe, Obama, "witnessing the realities of the atomic bombings" while on his visit to Hiroshima and calling for global nuclear disarmament "gives great hope to people all around the world who have never given hope for a world without nuclear weapons."

    "I express my sincere respect to the decision and courage of President Obama. With his decision and courage, we are opening a new chapter to the reconciliation of Japan and the United States and in our history of trust and friendship," Abe said at a press conference in Hiroshima.

    The US president arrived in Japan earlier this week to attend the two-day G7 Summit in Ise-Shima.

    In August 2015, Japan marked 70 years since a US B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing about 140,000 people. A second atomic bomb strike on the Japanese city of Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 people.

    Related:

    US President Obama Arrives in Hiroshima for Peace Memorial Ceremony
    Obama Says His Visit to Hiroshima Reaffirms Goal of a Nuclear-Free World
    Ahead of Obama’s Visit, Some Hiroshima Survivors Do Want an Apology
    Tags:
    Sindzo Abe, Barack Obama, Japan, United States, Hiroshima
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