NEW YORK – A Japan-sponsored resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons was formally adopted Monday by the U.N. General Assembly, marking the 23rd time it has been endorsed by a wide majority of member states.
The passage in a plenary vote followed the nonbinding motion’s approval by the assembly’s First Committee on disarmament and security issues in late October.
The resolution was backed by 167 countries, including the United States, with four — China, North Korea, Russia and Syria — voting against and 17, including Britain and France, abstaining.
The resolution encourages “every effort to raise awareness of the realities of the use of nuclear weapons, including through visits by leaders, youth and others (to the Japanese atom-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) to interactions with communities and people, including atomic bomb survivors, the hibakusha, to pass on their experiences to future generations.”
The text welcomes recent visits by leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Hiroshima in May, the first by a sitting U.S. leader. The United States dropped A-bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki three days later.
It also condemns “in the strongest terms” the nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches that Pyongyang has carried out this year.
North Korea carried out underground nuclear tests in January and September, and has fired off more than 20 ballistic missiles this year.
On Nov. 30, the U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang in response to its nuclear test in September, placing a cap on the country’s coal exports that could choke off funding for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs if implemented to the full extent.
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