U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said realizing the Group of Seven summit theme of a world without nuclear weapons "is possible" in an interview with Kyodo News on Saturday on the sidelines of the meeting in the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima.

A passionate advocate for nuclear disarmament who has made repeated visits to Hiroshima, Guterres said that being in the city that suffered the world's first atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, is "emotional" and "goes to the bottom of my deep beliefs."

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres gives an interview in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023. The U.N. chief is in Hiroshima as the United Nations and other international organizations have been invited to a three-day Group of Seven summit taking place through May 21 in the western Japan city. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made "realizing a world without nuclear weapons" a key theme of the gathering, and he and his G-7 counterparts took a historic tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and met an atomic bomb survivor there the previous day.

The G-7 nations include three nuclear-possessing countries -- the United States, Britain and France -- as well as Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan, which are protected under nuclear umbrellas.

While acknowledging the differences between G-7 nations and China about human rights and other issues, Guterres called for "active dialogue and cooperation" between them on climate change and sustainable development.

"I believe it is very important to avoid the division of the world into two, and it's very important to create bridges for serious negotiation," he said.

Guterres was present at the 2022 ceremony to mark the atomic bombing's anniversary, during which he urged nuclear states to adopt a "no first use" policy on nuclear weapons that would mean they promise not to use them unless attacked with them first.

The secretary general hailed the courage of atomic bomb survivors, known in Japan as hibakusha, saying previous trips to Hiroshima left him "deeply moved by their resilience, their courage, their voice."

"They should be seen by everybody in the world as a fundamental reason to consider nuclear disarmament a priority," he said.

Speaking on the same day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Japan for the summit after he had initially been expected to participate online, Guterres said Zelenskyy being invited to the summit was a "natural development," but that he felt "peace is not in the immediate horizon" in the country's conflict with Russia.

Regarding the news Wednesday of a 60-day extension to the United Nations-brokered deal involving Russia and Turkey that protects global food security by enabling Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea, Guterres said it was "a matter of doing everything we can to minimize the impact of this war."

On nuclear threats elsewhere in the world, the secretary general said North Korea's missile tests, which reached a record high number last year, are "unacceptable" and that the country's possession of nuclear weapons was also "totally intolerable."

He is scheduled to hold a press conference Sunday.

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