President Barack Obama remains committed to creating a world without nuclear weapons and his administration will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security policy, according to a U.S. government official.
Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, pressed Obama's case in a recent written interview with Kyodo News ahead of the 69th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"President Obama has reaffirmed his commitment to making progress down the path toward the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," said Gottemoeller, who visited Hiroshima and the Marshall Islands last year.
The United States will "continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks" and seek to make deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States or our allies "the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons," she said.
Gottemoeller said her visits to the western Japanese city and the Pacific island country, where the United States tested nuclear bombs in the 1940s and 1950s, were "moving."
"My visit to the Peace Memorial (in Hiroshima) and my conversation with an atomic survivor reemphasized the important message to all nations to avoid the horrors of nuclear war," she said.
The United States understands well the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use, the official said.
Gottemoeller said the United States has "more nuclear weapons than we need to maintain a robust deterrent" and "a large arsenal is poorly suited for today's security environment."
Gottemoeller suggested Obama's administration has yet to given up an opportunity to negotiate with Russia over cutbacks in all kinds of nuclear arsenals.
"We remain open to seek negotiated reductions with Russia covering all nuclear weapons -- strategic and non-strategic, deployed and non-deployed -- when the conditions are conducive for further steps," she said.