TOKYO, April 10 – US Senator John McCain Friday backed a call by President Barack Obama, his former rival for the White House, for a planet free of nuclear weapons and this should start with North Korea and Iran.
The Republican senator from Arizona was speaking in Japan on the last leg of an Asia tour, after Tokyo was angered by Pyongyang firing a rocket over its territory Sunday.
"Concerning President Obama’s commitment to the removal of nuclear weapons from the Earth, I certainly support that ambitious goal," McCain told a Tokyo press conference.
"We have two countries in the world that could destabilise both parts of the world — the Iranians and the North Koreans. They both are on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them."
McCain reiterated a view held by Washington, Seoul and Tokyo, saying the North Korean launch was "a direct violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and against the norms of decent behaviour as a citizen of the world."
He added that "Iranians risk a destabilisation of the entire Middle East as they continue on their path to acquire nuclear weapons."
While speaking out against regimes holding nuclear weapons, McCain voiced support for peaceful countries using nuclear power to shift away from carbon-based energy sources and to slow down climate change.
He was due to visit a nuclear power plant near Tokyo.
"As the United States increases and accelerates our efforts for energy independence as well as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, I believe that nuclear power must play a major role," the senator said.
McCain, who serves on the Senate committees on armed services and energy, was travelling with fellow senators Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar on an Asian tour that earlier took him to Hong Kong, Hanoi and Beijing.