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Statement by Ambassador Fu Cong at the CD on Hiroshima,Nagasaki and World War II

Mr. President,

At the outset, I sincerely welcome the high-school students from Hiroshima, Japan to the CD. Your presence reminds us not only of the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the World War II, episodes of historic tragedy without parallel in this world, but also of our important mission in the CD to promote multilateral disarmament and global peace and security.

I believe that you have come to visit the august Council Chamber of the CD as Peace Messengers, bringing with you the ardent aspiration of Japan's young generation for a world free of nuclear weapons and its noble wish for lasting world peace. It is well known that Japanese people have a long tradition of modesty and learning. Your voyage to Geneva from afar is not only a journey of speaking out, but also a journey of listening. You have come here to speak the minds of your generation, but also to bring back what you see and hear during the trip and to share with your friends at home.

China’s late leader, Chairman Mao Zedong, once remarked that:“The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours.” In order to fulfill its historic mission and build a better world, the young generation not only needs to possess sufficient knowledge and skills, but also to have an accurate view of the world and history. History, being a mirror, should be perceived objectively and accurately; only this way can we avoid repeating past tragedies. Although the dark clouds of the World War II have long been dispersed, our perception of the history, including the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, remains a topic of major practical relevance today. I would like to take this opportunity to share frankly with you some of my personal views.

Firstly, a panoramic view of history is essential. The World War II was the darkest page in the annals of mankind, with the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki being part of the tragedy. One cannot correctly and fully understand this historic episode without a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the trajectory of the War, including questions such as which countries started the war, how it developed and the relations of causality linking a series of historical events. To view the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki outside the wider context of the World War II would very likely lead to a mistaken conclusion.

Secondly, it is helpful to look at others’ points of view. The War engulfed Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania and caused over 100 million military and civilian casualties. Of this figure China alone suffered over 35 million casualties and the Soviet Union, 27 million. During the War, a certain country, in violation of international law, had used biological and chemical weapons, killing or maiming several million soldiers and civilians in China. Both selective memory and selective loss of memory are betrayal of human conscience. Commemorating the sufferings endured by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while ignoring the much greater sufferings inflicted on the people of other Asian countries will inevitably result in a skewed view of history.

Thirdly, while taking history as a mirror, we should look to the future. During the War, the people of most Asian countries, Japan included, were victims of fascist militarism. The purpose of remembering history is not to renew hatred, but to draw lessons from it, to guard against a revival of harmful ideas such as militarism and to prevent the tragedy of war from repeating. Only by remembering history can we squarely face our past, correctly interpret the present and make correct choice for the future. Forgetting, distorting or covering up will not truly help relieve us of the burdens of history.

Based on the above, I encourage you to delve deep into history by reading more books on the history of World War II and learning facts not found in your textbooks. Meanwhile, just as you welcome people of other countries to visit your home town, I encourage you to visit cities devastated in the War, such as Nanjing, China where I am confident that you will be warmly welcomed. It is my conviction that a young generation with a comprehensive and accurate view of history will surely create a better future for Asia and the world at large.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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