Hiroshima: Appealing to the international
community to move from "Ground Zero to Global Zero" by
eliminating nuclear arms across the world, UN Secretary
General Ban Ki Moon on Friday sought the rapid entry into force
of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty in 2012.
"Now is the time...the time for rapid entry into force
of the (CTBT). Let us set the goal of 2012," Ban said in a
speech in Hiroshima after attending a ceremony to mark the
65th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the city in World
"We should also build on the success of last year`s
Security Council Summit," Ban said on his first visit to
Hiroshima. He also suggested the convening of regular Security
Council Summits from next year.
"Together, you have made Hiroshima an epicentre of
peace. Together, we are on a journey from ground zero to
Global Zero -- a world free of weapons of mass destruction.
"That is the only sane path to a safer world. For as
long as nuclear weapons exist, we will live under a nuclear
shadow," he said.
An estimated 140,000 people died instantly in
Hiroshima or succumbed to burns and radiation sickness soon
after the blast on August 6, 1945, and over 70,000 perished as
a result of the Nagasaki attack three days later.
Ban made concrete proposals including the target year
in a rare venture since he turned to head the world body from
South Korean foreign minister in 2007, after meeting with and
hearing the stories of local atomic-bomb survivors earlier
today as well as those of Nagasaki during a visit yesterday.
"Today, I carry more than a message of hope. I come
with a call for action," he said in the speech.
He called for building upon a landmark Security
Council Summit chaired by US President Barack Obama last
September that unanimously adopted a resolution seeking to
prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote nuclear
disarmament with an eye toward creating a nuclear-free world.
Citing a five-point action plan he offered two years
ago to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, Ban
invited the Japanese government to consider hosting a regional
conference to advance those efforts.
The UN chief also reiterated his support for the goal
of realising a nuclear-free world in 2020 set by the Mayors
for Peace, whose membership stood at 4,037 cities in 144
countries and regions including Hiroshima and Nagasaki as of
July 1, calling it a "perfect vision."
"Looking toward that day, let us pledge to join
together on the 75th anniversary of the bombing -- with the
hibakusha -- to celebrate the end of nuclear weapons," he
Ban also touched on nuclear threats from North Korea
and Iran, and urged the countries to take actions to dispel
"The nuclear weapons capability of the (North) poses
a serious security threat to the region and beyond. I urge the
(North) to take concrete actions toward verifiable
denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," he said.
"There are serious concerns regarding Iran`s nuclear
programme. I repeat my call for the government to fully comply
with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and
provide the fullest cooperation to the IAEA (International
Atomic Energy Agency) to resolve any concerns over its nuclear
programs," Ban said.