UN chief urges nuclear powers to recommit with promise not to be first to use

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged nuclear-armed countries to honor their commitment not to be the first to use their atomic arsenals, warning that the nuclear arms race has returned amid growing international tension. .

“This is the moment … to ask the nuclear-armed countries to commit to the principle of not using first and to commit not to use and not to threaten non-nuclear countries,” Guterres told a news conference. in Tokyo, two days after his visit Hiroshima to commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945.

“I think no one, no one can accept the idea that a new nuclear war would happen. This will be the destruction of the planet,” Guterres said. “What is clear is that if nobody uses it for the first time, then there will be no nuclear war.”

Fears of a third atomic bombing have been rising amid Russian threats of a nuclear attack since its war against Ukraine began in February.

On Thursday, Moscow bombed the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, which is home to The largest nuclear plant in Europe. When asked about the attack, Guterres said: “Any attack on a nuclear plant is suicidal.”

He said that he fully supports the International Atomic Energy Agency in its effort to stabilize the plant and gain access to the facility to exercise its mandate.

Guterres said that after decades of nuclear disarmament efforts, the world is now “going backwards,” noting that the world already has 13,000 nuclear bombs and is heavily invested in modernizing atomic arsenals. “So this is the time to say: enough is enough. ”

Guterres said that the billions of dollars being used in the arms race should be spent on other pressing issues.

“The billions that are being used in this arms race must be used to fight climate change, fight poverty and address the needs of the international community,” he said.

He said he will also go to Mongolia and South Korea to discuss ways to tackle North Korea’s nuclear development.

UN chief @antonioguterres urges nuclear powers to honor no-first-mover promise. #Nuclear Weapons #Atomic Arsenals #Nuclear Disarmament

asked about China’s ongoing military exercises surrounding Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit last week to the self-governing island, Guterres said the UN complies with the general assembly resolution supporting the policy of “One China”, which acknowledges Beijing’s view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan, but views Taiwan’s status as unresolved.

“We all want that resolution to correspond to a peaceful environment,” he said, asking for “common sense and then moderation, allowing de-escalation.”

Earlier Monday, Guterres met with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and shared “serious concern about the tense situation in the region and agreed on the importance of de-escalation,” the ministry said in a statement.

At a time when geopolitical tensions are rising and the nuclear threat is once again in the spotlight, Japan’s strong and consistent voice for peace is more important than ever, Guterres said, urging Japan to use its position unique as the only country in the world to have suffered atomic attacks. act as a “bridge builder and peacemaker to strengthen global cooperation, trust and solidarity”.

Guterres said he counts on Japan’s potential to take the lead in the global fight against climate change, specifically urging Tokyo to stop funding coal plants.

Japan, which has not clarified when it will ban coal plants altogether, has been seen to be reluctant to commit to banning coal power as soon as many European countries.

Current efforts in Japan, the world’s third largest economy, are focused on developing methods to burn ammonia in conventional coal plants and phase out the use of coal possibly sometime in the 2040s. Japan also aims to promote “clean coal” technology in Asia to achieve zero emissions.

Energy experts and critics say Japan currently has overly ambitious targets for nuclear power to supply 20%-22% of its energy mix by 2030. By that time, the country has promised to reduce emissions to 46% of the 2013 levels.

“There is no such thing as clean coal,” Guterres said. “For real change, I hope that Japanese public and private capital stops financing coal altogether.”

Guterres said he hopes Japan, through the multilateral development banks, will “immediately provide investment and support to developing countries to expand renewable energy and build climate resilience” to find solutions that fit their needs to address the climate emergency.

“I call on Japan to make the right decision, for Japan and for the world,” he said.

Leave a Comment