UN chief rings peace bell, renews call for peace

In a speech at the annual ringing of the Peace Bell at the UN headquarters in New York, the head of the United Nations said the world should be "rallying together" to tackle common challenges instead of fighting.

The event took place in the Japanese garden on Friday, ahead of the International Day of Peace on September 21.

Japan donated the bell in 1954 under the initiative of Nakagawa Chiyoji, a peace activist from the western prefecture of Ehime. The bell was cast from coins donated by UN member states.

Nakagawa's daughter, Takase Seiko, attended the ceremony.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the gathering, "As we meet today, peace is under assault," an apparent reference to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He added, "Instead of fighting each other on the battlefield, humanity should be rallying together to tackle the common challenges we face. Like poverty, hunger and inequality. Climate change and biodiversity loss."

Japan's UN Ambassador Ishikane Kimihiro said after the ceremony that this year in particular, he hopes people will appreciate the sound of the Peace Bell. He said he hopes the event will be an opportunity for a divided world to come together.