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Barack Obama To Become The First US President to Visit Historic Hiroshima

May 11, 2016 07:23 AM EDT
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US President Barack Obama is set to make a historic visit at the Hiroshima bombing site, which was ravaged in 1945 due to massive atomic bomb dropped by the US during World War II, the White House confirms.

"This trip will highlight the President's ongoing commitment to the U.S. Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific, designed to increase U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security engagement with the countries and peoples of the region," the press release said.

The visit, which is set on May 28 will be part of Obama's Asian trip. It also marks the first time a serving president is visiting the city.

Obama has been wanting to visit the site since he first took off to Japan in 2009, saying that he'd be honored to have the opportunity to visit Hiroshima.

In 1945, history was made when US dropped the only atomic bomb to be used in war. The Hiroshima bombing killed atleast 140,000 people while the second bombing in Nagasaki three days later ended the World War Two.

The aim of Obama's visit is to highlight nuclear non proliferation - a central ideology of his foreign policy - in a speech. According to the president, there's no better place to deliver the speech than there. In addition, he might also lay a wreath at a cenotaph in Peace Memorial Park near ground zero.

Being the only country that has used a nuclear weapon, he believes US has a special responsible to lead in this effort. In addition, visiting the place attacked by US shows respect to the victims.

However, the president also made it clear that the visit is not about apology.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, wrote on his website, Medium that the visit is not about revisiting the decision to use nuclear weapons at the end of world war II.

"He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future," he wrote.

"The President and his team will make this visit knowing that the open recognition of history is essential to understanding our shared past, the forces that shape the world we live in today, and the future that we seek for our children and grandchildren," he added.

Aside from the historic visit, the president will also attend his final G-7 Summit in Ise-Shima.

Meanwhie, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday told the reporters that the US President is welcome to visit Hirosihma "from the bottom of his heart," Japan Times reported.

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