Monday 19 March 2018

Obama to visit Hiroshima 'but won't say sorry'

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

Harriet Alexander in Washington

Barack Obama is to become the first serving US president to visit Hiroshima, the White House has confirmed.

Mr Obama (pictured) is to travel to Asia next week, ahead of the G7 Summit in Japan.

A statement from Mr Obama's press secretary read: "The president will make an historic visit to Hiroshima with Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe to highlight his continued commitment to pursuing peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons."

The White House has ruled out any apology for the bombing.

Mr Obama's communications adviser, Ben Rhodes, said Mr Obama would "not revisit" the use of the atomic bomb in World War II but would "offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future".

He said Mr Obama would "share his reflections on the significance of the site and the events that occurred there."

"The president's time in Hiroshima also will reaffirm America's long-standing commitment - and the president's personal commitment - to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," Mr Rhodes wrote. Mr Obama will also take part in the G7 summit in Japan's Ise-Shima peninsula and hold bilateral talks with Mr Abe.

Before that, Mr Obama will meet Vietnam's leadership and deliver a speech in the capital, Hanoi, on US-Vietnam relations. US media had been asking the president repeatedly whether he planned to visit Hiroshima, which was bombed by the US in 1945.

Jimmy Carter visited the city, but after the end of his presidency.

During his first visit to Japan, in November 2009, Mr Obama said that he wished to visit the site.

"The memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are etched in the minds of the world, and I would be honoured to have the opportunity to visit those cities at some point during my presidency," he said.

Irish Independent

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