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U.S. President Barack Obama outlined on Sunday his vision for a nuclear-free world, saying the United States was committed to reducing its nuclear stockpiles and wanted to involve all nuclear countries in arms reduction.
In his speech in Prague, Obama called for a global summit on nuclear security and efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
“The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War,” Obama said.
Obama said the United States would take efforts to sign a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia until the end of 2009 and would urge other nuclear states to join it.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1991 places a limit of 6,000 strategic or long-range nuclear warheads on each side. The treaty expires in December 2009.
The U.S. president condemned North Korea’s rocket launch as a provocative act that required a strong international response.
North Korea launched a multistage rocket with a communications satellite at 11:30 a.m. (02:30 a.m. GMT) over Japan on Sunday, defying pressure from the United States, Japan and South Korea and other countries, which suspect the secretive communist regime of testing its Taepodong-2 long-range missile.
At the same time, Obama said that the United States would continue with its controversial missile defense shield in Europe as long as Iran remained a threat.
The United States and other Western countries suspect Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the accusations saying its nuclear program is purely civilian.