U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Friday visited Nagasaki, one of the two atomic bombed cities during World War II, becoming the first official in that post to pay respects to the victims in the southwestern Japan city.

Thomas-Greenfield is on a trip to Japan and South Korea, during which she held talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier in the day. On Thursday, she met with the families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Nagasaki, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Aug. 9, 1945, the ambassador took a 25-minute tour of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, guided by people including Masao Tomonaga, an 80-year-old doctor who survived the nuclear attack.

"It was a very powerful reminder that a nuclear weapon should never be used again," Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the tour.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield reads out a message after signing a guestbook at Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, on April 19, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"Today, I am reminded of our responsibility -- as governments, as allies, and as human beings -- to end the scourge of war, once and for all," she wrote in the museum's guest book.

It is the first visit to the museum, dedicated to the effects of the bombing, by a minister-level official of the U.S. government, according to the U.S. Consulate Fukuoka.

The Japanese government is hoping visits by high-level U.S. officials to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the only other city to be devastated by an atomic bomb, will contribute to developing momentum toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel visited Nagasaki in December as well.

Thomas-Greenfield also laid flowers at the Peace Park in Nagasaki and held discussions about nuclear weapons with students, including those from Nagasaki University.

"(T)he United States is grateful to have a strong, enduring partner in Japan, including on the U.N. Security Council, where our two countries work hand-in-hand to hold the DPRK and other proliferators to account and to address the threat of proliferation in outer space," she also said after the museum tour.

DPRK is the acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's formal name.

During her talks with Kishida at the prime minister's office, they agreed to continue close cooperation to address issues surrounding North Korea, including its past abductions of Japanese citizens.

Kishida also emphasized the necessity of implementing U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile development.

The prime minister was quoted by his government as telling Thomas-Greenfield, "The leadership by Japan and the United States is more important today than ever to lead the world to cooperation, not to division or confrontation."

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on April 19, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Thomas-Greenfield told reporters after the meeting that their conversation revolved around how Japan, the United States and South Korea should join hands in the U.N. Security Council for international stability.

Japan, which has been serving its two-year stint as a nonpermanent member of the council since early last year, has long sought a permanent post on the 15-member panel.

Thomas-Greenfield described her meeting with the families of Japanese abductees as "extraordinarily emotional and moving," while acknowledging the pain and heartache they must feel "as they continue to deal with the situation of not knowing what has happened with their family members."

At the outset of the meeting, Sakie Yokota, the mother of Megumi, who has become a symbol of the abductees, said, "Now that I'm 88 years old, all I want is to see her, even if just for a moment, while I'm still well. I don't need anything else."

Megumi was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977 at the age of 13 while on her way home from junior high school in Niigata Prefecture, along the Sea of Japan coast.

Related coverage:

Kin of Japanese abducted by North Korea ask U.S. envoy for assistance

Japan, U.S. leaders vow to boost security alliance amid China rise

North Korean foreign minister nixes any contact with Japan: KCNA