Barack Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima in Japan later this month, but he will not apologise for the US’ dropping of an atomic bomb on the city in the Second World War, the White House said.
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize early in his presidency in 2009 in part for his commitment to nuclear non proliferation, Mr Obama will visit the site of the world’s first nuclear bomb attack on May 27 with Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe.
With the end of his last term in office approaching in January 2017, Mr Obama will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”, the White House said in a statement.
“He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War Two. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future,” US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes wrote in a separate blog.
The visit comes as part of a swing through Asia, which will include a Group of Seven summit in Japan and a visit to Vietnam.
On the final day of the summit, Mr Obama and Mr Abe will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near the spot where a US warplane dropped an atomic bomb 71 years ago.
There have been concerns a US presidential visit would be controversial in the US if it were seen as an apology.
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