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President Hu urges Nuke-free world at UN special session

2009-09-25 10:10 BJT

Special Report: Hu attends UN, G20 Summits |

The world's major nuclear powers should make "drastic and substantive" cuts to their arsenals and strive to make the planet nuclear-free, President Hu Jintao told national leaders in New York yesterday.

Addressing the UN Security Council summit on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, Hu said China would unswervingly follow a purely defensive nuclear strategy.

"To realize a safer world for all, we must first and foremost remove the threat of nuclear war," Hu said before arriving in Pittsburgh ahead of the G20 summit.

Saying Beijing has always wanted complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, Hu also said: "all countries should join the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) and make real efforts to uphold and enhance its authority and effectiveness."

The NPT was launched on July 1, 1968. Only four nuclear countries are not parties to the treaty: India, Israel, Pakistan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

It was the third consecutive day Hu had made a major speech before world leaders, but the first time he had addressed such a high-level summit on disarmament and nonproliferation.

Experts said his speech showed the way forward, but they pointed out that more work lies ahead.

At the summit chaired by US President Barack Obama, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a US-drafted resolution, calling for stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. It was the fifth time the Security Council had met at the head-of-state level since it was established in 1946.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday also called for nuclear disarmament, calling it "the only sane path to a safer world".

"Nothing would work better in eliminating the risk of use than eliminating the weapons themselves," he said at the summit.