ROME ( Associated Press) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Pope Francis have vowed to work together to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Vatican and Japanese officials said on Wednesday as new nuclear threats worried Asia and Europe. Is.
Kishida and Francis hold a meeting at the Vatican as Russia presses its war on Ukraine and vowed to speed up the development of its own nuclear arsenal after North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters.
Kishida and Francis spoke in private for about 25 minutes at a reception in the Vatican’s main audience hall. Kishida then met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Vatican’s Foreign Minister.
In a statement, the Vatican said the talks would focus on bilateral and international relations “with a particular focus on the war in Ukraine, emphasizing the urgency of dialogue and peace and, to this end, expressing hope for a world free of nuclear weapons.” Touched it.
Japan’s foreign affairs ministry said the prime minister and the pope shared their determination to “end the brutal war and restore peace” in Ukraine.
Francis has changed the Church’s teaching on nuclear weapons, saying that their mere possession was “immoral”. He made the remarks during a 2019 visit to Japan, where he paid tribute to the survivors of the atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
The foreign ministry said Kishida thanked the pope for visiting the Japanese leader’s hometown of Hiroshima and expressed his pledge to cooperate with the Vatican in its efforts to create a world without nuclear weapons.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently vowed to speed up the development of his nuclear weapons “at the fastest pace” and threatened to use them against rivals.
Speaking to reporters in Rome, Kishida said the North’s actions “are a threat to the peace, security and stability of the international community.”
Kishida and Italian Premier Mario Draghi discussed the missile launch during talks later on Wednesday.
Draghi said Italy as well as the wider European Union agreed on the importance of stability in the Indo-Pacific and shared concerns about North Korea’s weapons tests.
“We must continue to stand united and determined to defend the rules-based international order, including the China Sea and the Straits,” Draghi said.
Draghi also urged Japan to resume processing visas for Europeans and encourage visitors from the EU because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Italy has reopened its borders to Japanese travelers, including tourism,” Draghi said. “We look forward to a speedy resumption of the process of visas for work and study and the waiver of visas for tourism for European citizens.”
“Essentially, we want to see you again,” he said.