Responses from Philip Hammond, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to questions from Chugoku Shimbun in written interview

Q. How many times have you visited Hiroshima? If you’ve visited Hiroshima before, when did you visit the city? What were your impressions of the city?
This will be my first visit to Hiroshima. I was last in Japan in January. I did not have the opportunity to travel outside the Tokyo area then. It was in the days after the latest nuclear test by North Korea, which was a stark reminder of the security challenges we continue to face in this region in and the need to keep working together to address them.

Q. What do you hope to experience in Hiroshima this time?
The G7 meeting in Hiroshima is an important opportunity to discuss how we together tackle some of the biggest challenges we face. The fact we are meeting in Hiroshima will add another dimension to the meeting. It will be an opportunity to hear from Foreign Minister Kishida more about the history of his city and experience first-hand the impressive way in which the people of Hiroshima have recovered and rebuilt their city since the end of World War II.

Q. What hopes do you have for the upcoming foreign ministers’ meeting? What suggestions would you like to make to overcome obstacles toward realizing this peace?
I am looking forward to speaking frankly and in detail with my G7 colleagues about some of the most pressing matters of international peace and security: from the ongoing situation in Eastern Ukraine; to the various security issues in East Asia; to the urgent global security threat posed by Terrorism. Addressing these issues requires a clear understanding of the problem at hand, good communication between partners, and resolute commitment to take action. I am sure that Foreign Minister Kishida and his officials will organise an excellent meeting, providing us the opportunity to and that we will be able to agree common positions on a number of important topics.

Q. What would you like to discuss to advance peace in the world?
In addition to the above topics, one particular important issue that I expect that we will address is the situation in Syria and the related migration crisis. It is essential that all members of the international community urgently follow through on the commitments they made at the “Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016” Conference.

Q. What suggestions would you like to make to overcome obstacles toward realizing this peace?
The UK has clear positions on these topics and I look forward to discussing with my G7 colleagues how best to make progress. The G7 is an valuable group in overcoming obstacles to peace generally, and I look forward to maintaining this dialogue with my close colleagues in the G7.

Q. Do you support “a world without nuclear weapons”? What should be done to realise such a world?
Yes I do. In our Strategic Defence and Security Review last year we restated our commitment to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons, in line with our NPT obligations. We have reduced our own nuclear forces by over half from their Cold War peak. We firmly believe that the best way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is through negotiated step-by-step multilateral disarmament within the framework of the NPT. We will continue to work with partners across the international community to prevent proliferation and to take tangible steps towards a safer and more stable world, in which countries with nuclear weapons feel able to relinquish them.

Q. Do you have any suggestions as to what the youth of Hiroshima can do to promote peace?
Everyone, young and old, in Hiroshima and elsewhere, can make a contribution whether in their community or on a larger scale – and it is for each individual to decide how to do so. The UK approach has been to stress the importance of an international order based on rules not force, to meet the global target of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid to other countries, and to meet the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defence. We think all of those are important contributions to securing prosperity, peace and security.