UN chief urges nuke powers to abide by no-first-use pledge

Aug 7, 2022, 10:19 AM | Updated: Aug 8, 2022, 2:59 am
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres delivers a speech at the Japan National Pr...

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres delivers a speech at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Guterres urged countries with nuclear weapons to stick to their no-first-use commitment of their atomic arsenals, warning that the nuclear arms race has returned amid growing international tension. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged countries with nuclear weapons to stick to their no-first-use commitment of 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 non-first-use and to commit to not use and not threaten the non-nuclear countries,” Guterres said at a news conference in Tokyo, two days after he visited Hiroshima to commemorate victims of the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing.

“I think that nobody, nobody 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 if nobody uses for the first time then there will be no nuclear war.”

Fears of a third atomic bombing have been on the rise amid Russia’s threats of a nuclear attack since its war on Ukraine began in February.

On Thursday, Moscow shelled the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, which holds Europe’s largest nuclear plant. When asked about the attack, Guterres said, “Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing.”

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

Guterres said that after decades of nuclear disarmament efforts, the world is now “moving backwards,” noting that the world already has 13,000 nuclear bombs and huge investment going into modernization of atomic arsenals. “So this is the time to say: Stop it.”

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 need to be used to fighting climate change, fighting poverty, addressing the needs of the international community,” he said.

He said he will be also going to Mongolia and South Korea to discuss ways to address North Korea’s nuclear development.

Asked about China’s ongoing military exercises surrounding Taiwan in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit last week to the self-governing island, Guterres said the U.N. abides by the general assembly resolution supporting the “One China” policy, which acknowledges Beijing’s view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan, but considers Taiwan’s status as unsettled.

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

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

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

Guterres said he is counting on Japan’s potential to take leadership on the global fight against climate change, and specifically urged Tokyo to stop funding coal plants.

Japan, which has not clarified the timing when it will fully ban coal-fired plants, has been seen as reluctant to commit itself 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-fired plants and gradually phasing out use of coal possibly sometime in the 2040s. Japan also aims to promote the “clean coal” technology in Asia to achieve zero emissions.

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

“There is no such thing as clean coal,” Guterres said. “For a real change, I hope Japanese public and private capital will stop financing coal completely.”

Guterres said he expects Japan, through multilateral development banks, to “immediately deliver investments and support for developing countries to expand renewables and build climate resilience” to find solutions that fit their needs in addressing the climate emergency.

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


This story corrects the timing of Guterres’ meeting with Hayashi. It was before the news conference, not afterwards.


Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A model of the house where a precision counterterrorism operation killed al-Qaida's leader Ayman al...
Associated Press

CIA unveils model of al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri’s hideout

MCLEAN, Virginia (AP) — The CIA revealed on Saturday the model of a safe house used to brief President Joe Biden about the whereabouts of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri before it killed him in a drone strike in Afghanistan. Shortly after al-Zawahri’s death, White House officials released a photo showing Biden talking to CIA Director […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Opposition leads in 1st round of Czech Senate election

PRAGUE (AP) — The major opposition party in the Czech Republic appeared to be leading Saturday in the first round of elections for one-third of the seats in Parliament’s upper house, the Senate. With ballots from more than 95% of ballot stations counted, the centrist ANO movement led by former Prime Minister Andrej Babis had […]
15 hours ago
Arizona Secretary of State Latie Hobbs, left, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Kris Mayes, ...
Associated Press

GOP quiet as Arizona Democrats condemn abortion ruling

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Democrats vowed Saturday to fight for women’s rights after a court reinstated a law first enacted during the Civil War that bans abortion in nearly all circumstances, looking to capitalize on an issue they hope will have a major impact on the midterm elections. Republican candidates were silent a day after […]
15 hours ago
Andy Huynh, left, and Alex Drueke, far right, are seen hugging their loved ones after arriving at B...
Associated Press

‘We got our miracle’: Freed Americans back home in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Two U.S. military veterans who disappeared three months ago while fighting with Ukrainian forces against Russia arrived home to Alabama on Saturday, greeted by hugs, cheers and tears of joy at the state’s main airport. Alex Drueke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27, had gone missing June 9 in the Kharkiv region […]
15 hours ago
Foreign Minister of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar addresses the 77th session of the United Nations ...
Associated Press

India stays neutral on Ukraine war, previews G-20 term at UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — India’s foreign minister laid out the country’s plans for its turn at the G-20 presidency during his speech Saturday in front of the U.N. General Assembly. India assumes the mantle of the consortium of leading developed and developing nations in December. Subramanyam Jaishankar said India’s approach would be “based on principles […]
15 hours ago
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announces a new federal office of envir...
Associated Press

Biden administration launches environmental justice office

WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution. Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
UN chief urges nuke powers to abide by no-first-use pledge