Time: 3:32 p.m. CEST
The White House announced on Tuesday, President Barack Obama will travel to Vietnam and Japan on May 21-28. This will be the tenth trip to Asia on which Obama will highlight the President’s ongoing commitment to the U.S. Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific. The aim, as the White House’s statement of press secretary Josh Earnest said it to “increase U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security engagement with the countries and people of the region.” The core part of the official trip will be “an historic visit to Hiroshima with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to highlight “his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” Earnest said.
The White House National Security Deputy Adviser, Ben Rhodes gave further details on Obama visit to Hiroshima in writing “The first sitting U.S. President will visit Hiroshima” published on the self-publishing platform Medium.com. Rhodes, who is advising the president on the national security issues says, on May 27, the President will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, “a site at the center of the city dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing, where he will share his reflections on the significance of the site and the events that occurred there.” But, as Rhodes further adds, “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.”
As Rhodes said, “this visit will offer an opportunity to honor the memory of all innocents who were lost during the war.” Rhodes explains, the president and his team “will make this visit knowing the open recognition of history is essential” to understand shared past, and look at the future for our children and grandchildren.
In the White House statement, published on the website, press secretary Earnest explained the agenda for the tenth trip to Asia. President Obama will visit Vietnam to discuss U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, which includes economic, people-to-people, security, human rights, and global and regional issues. The President will have a speech on U.S. – Vietnam relations, with a focus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” The President also will meet with members of civil society, the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative, entrepreneurs, and the business community,” Earnest said. During the visit to Japan, Obama will take part in his last G-7 Summit in Ise-Shima. President Obama will have bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe.
Prior to Obama’s visit, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Hiroshima on April 11, 2016, where he said, “It reminds everybody of the extraordinary complexity of choices in war and of what war does to people, to communities, to countries, to the world.”
In August 1945, the United States under the Quebec Agreement consent of the United Kingdom, used nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the bomb exploded, about 140.000 people died.