Barack Obama to become first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima

Mr Obama will visit the city with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this month

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File photo. Doves fly over the cenotaph dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Image: Eugene Hoshiko / AP/Press Association Images

White House officials say President Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the city of Hiroshima later this month.

The US President will visit the city with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe between 21 May and 28 May as part of his 10th trip to Asia since taking office.

The visit will bolster Mr Obama's calls for de-nuclearisation and will allow him to pay his respects to the 140,000 Japanese people killed in the bombing on 6 August, 1945.

In a statement, White House official Ben Rhodes said, "the President’s time in Hiroshima will reaffirm America’s longstanding commitment — and the President’s personal commitment — to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

"The visit will also symbolize how far the United States and Japan have come in building a deep and abiding alliance based on mutual interests, shared values, and an enduring spirit of friendship between our peoples," he added.

Last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the memorial at the site of the bombing and Mr Obama has long been expected to go to the city on the sidelines of the G7 economic summit.

The White House has ruled out the possibility that he will apologise for the atomic bombing of the city, saying he will instead "offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future".