nagasaki atomic bomb 1945
A mushroom cloud billows over Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city on 9 August 1945Reuters

As the rhetoric between North Korea and the US reaches new levels, the mayor of Nagasaki, the last place to be hit by a nuclear weapon, has issued a stark warning about the growing threat. The new tensions come on the 72nd anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing by the US, which killed as many as 80,000 civilians.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the nuclear attack, Tomihisa Taue said: "The international situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense.

"A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again.

"The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security."

It comes amid a rapid escalation in the aggression between the US and North Korea after it was reported that the hermit nation was capable of miniaturising a nuclear warhead aboard an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Donald Trump reacted by saying that the country would be met with "fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before".

This provoked Pyongyang to announce that it was considering targeting the Pacific island of Guam, which contains a US military base.