Little Rock to host memorial of atomic bombings

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In Ashland Monday morning, a brief ceremony marked with the sound of a gong signaled the beginning of a four-day ceremony and the moment when the first of two atomic bombs exploded onto the world stage.

"Certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centered nationalism and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War", Matsui said Monday, without identifying the countries.

Nuclear deterrence and nuclear umbrellas are "inherently unstable and extremely dangerous" approaches that seek to maintain global order by only generating fear in rival countries, he said, urging world leaders to negotiate in good faith to eliminate nuclear arsenals instead in a year when President Donald Trump pledged to increase the US nuclear arsenal.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the anniversary event. The bombings, the first atomic attacks on humans, closed World War II and opened the nuclear age.

Abe said in an apparent reference to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted last year that differences among countries about how to promote nuclear disarmament have become evident in recent years.

Foreign Minister Zarif in a tweet on Monday remembered the 73rd anniversary of the United States' nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, describing the U.S. as the "first and only" country to ever use nukes, "on an urban center of all targets".

Matsui's call however highlighted Japan's contradictory relationship with nuclear weapons although Japanese officials routinely argue that they oppose atomic weapons.

A minute of silence was observed at 8:15 AM local time, the exact time the bomb was dropped by the USA on 6th of August in 1945.

In Friday, Aug. 8, 2018, photo, Namio Matsura, 17-year-old member of the computation skill research club at the Fukuyama Technical High School, watches Hiroshima city before atomic bomb fell in virtual reality experience at the high school in Hiroshima, western Japan.

The anniversary comes amid hopes to denuclearise North Korea after its pledge to do so at the Singapore summit in June. "We in civil society fervently hope that the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula will proceed through peaceable dialogue", Matsui said.

In order to gain cooperation, Abe said, world leaders must understand "the reality of the tragedy of nuclear attacks", and reiterated Japan's pledge to maintain its pacifist and nonnuclear principles.

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