Obama, in final U.N. speech, pushes for nuclear-free world

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday seized on his final speech to the U.N. General Assembly to push for his vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

He also blamed North Korea for conducting its fifth nuclear test and called for resolving the disputes in the South China Sea peacefully and in line with international law.

“We cannot escape the prospect of nuclear war unless we all commit to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and pursuing a world without them,” he said.

In his landmark speech in Prague in 2009, Obama pledged to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and eventually rid the world of them.

The Obama administration is eager to have the U.N. Security Council adopt a resolution in the near future calling for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons.

While embracing Iran’s concession on its nuclear program as a favorable development, Obama singled out North Korea as a threat to the world.

“When Iran agrees to accept constraints on its nuclear program, that enhances global security and Iran’s ability to cooperate,” he said.

“When North Korea tests a bomb, that endangers all of us, and any country that breaks this basic bargain must face consequences,” he said.

On the South China Sea, Obama pointed to the need to resolve the rows there in a peaceful manner based on international law, warning against China’s militarization of outposts in the waters.

“In the South China Sea, a peaceful resolution of disputes offered by law will mean far greater stability than the militarization of a few rocks and reefs,” he said.

Obama also called on world leaders to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. A focus on fighting global warming, he said, is “not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”


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