Pos­i­tive en­ergy of China

As Pres­i­dent Xi said equal em­pha­sis needs to be placed on the de­vel­op­ment and se­cu­rity of nu­clear power

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

The ThirdNu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit was held onMon­day and Tues­day in The Hague in theNether­lands; with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of lead­ers from more than 50 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions the fo­cus was on strength­en­ing nu­clear se­cu­rity and the preven­tion of nu­clear ter­ror­ism.

With the global nu­clear se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­plex, and theUnited States and the Euro­peanUnion wran­gling with Rus­sia over the Ukrainian cri­sis, the tim­ing of the sum­mit was highly sen­si­tive and the in­ter­ac­tion among the par­ties in­side and out­side the venue caught the at­ten­tion of people around the world.

The cur­rent global nu­clear safety sit­u­a­tion is com­pli­cated and se­vere, and there are three ma­jor chal­lenges. First, nu­clear ter­ror­ism has be­come theNo 1 threat, as the risk of nu­clear ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties is in­creas­ing. In re­cent years, in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism has showed signs of re­sus­ci­ta­tion. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the po­lit­i­cal up­heaval and un­rest in the Mid­dle East andNorth Africa, al-Qaida and other ter­ror­ist groups have gained mo­men­tum and, by means of the In­ter­net and the smug­gling of nu­clear ma­te­rial, they are leav­ing no stone un­turned in their at­tempts to build atomic bombs. The threat of nu­clear ter­ror­ism continues to grow.

Sec­ond, in or­der to deal with cli­mate change and en­ergy short­ages, coun­tries are rac­ing to de­velop nu­clear power, and it is im­pos­si­ble to com­pletely pre­vent nu­clear ac­ci­dents caused by nat­u­ral dis­as­ters or man-made calami­ties from hap­pen­ing. Ma­jor nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are likely to cause dam­age to nu­clear plants and nu­clear ma­te­ri­als in stor­age. Nu­clear leaks at Ja­pan’s Fukushima nu­clear power plant in 2011 have still not been com­pletely stopped.

Third, the nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion sit­u­a­tion is still com­pli­cated. The Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue shows signs of im­prove­ment, as the talks be­tween Iran and the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of theUNSe­cu­rity Coun­cil plus Ger­many, the P5+1, have achieved sub­stan­tial progress. It is more press­ing to solve the long-stand­ing nu­clear is­sue con­cern­ing the Demo­cratic People’s Repub­lic of Korea through diplo­matic means. Mean­while, the right-lean­ing Shinzo Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion in Ja­pan is try­ing to turn the coun­try into a po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary power, and its nu­clear am­bi­tion de­serves high alert from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. Al­though un­der in­ter­na­tional pres­sure, Ja­pan an­nounced on the eve of the sum­mit that it will hand over 500 kilo­grams of nu­clear ma­te­rial to theUnited States, Ja­pan will con­tinue to pos­sess a large amount of plu­to­nium.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping at­tended the sum­mit for the first time, and he elab­o­rated on China’s ap­proach to pro­mot­ing nu­clear se­cu­rity and called for global co­op­er­a­tion to en­sure nu­clear en­ergy’s last­ing se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment.

While giv­ing de­tails of China’s ap­proach to pro­mot­ing nu­clear se­cu­rity, he said the world should place “equal em­pha­sis” on de­vel­op­ment and se­cu­rity and de­velop nu­clear en­ergy on the premise of se­cu­rity. Rights and obli­ga­tions should be given the same at­ten­tion, he said, and the in­ter­na­tional nu­clear se­cu­rity process should be pushed for­ward on the ba­sis of re­spect­ing the rights and in­ter­ests of all coun­tries, and in­de­pen­dent and col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts. The nu­clear se­cu­rity en­deavor should treat both the symp­toms and the causes and uni­ver­sal nu­clear se­cu­rity should be ad­vanced through win-win co­op­er­a­tion that re­moves risks at the root.

As Xi said, where light inches for­ward, dark­ness re­treats, and the more we do to en­hance nu­clear se­cu­rity, the less chances there will be for ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties.

Speak­ing of China’s fu­ture com­mit­ment to nu­clear se­cu­rity, the Chi­nese pres­i­dent said China will stay firmly com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing its own nu­clear se­cu­rity ca­pa­bil­ity, build­ing the in­ter­na­tional nu­clear se­cu­rity sys­tem, sup­port­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion on nu­clear se­cu­rity, and up­hold­ing re­gional and global peace and sta­bil­ity.

China has main­tained a good record of nu­clear se­cu­rity over the past 50 years and has ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in re­lated in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion on nu­clear se­cu­rity. Be­sides ac­tively us­ing nu­clear en­ergy to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions, China at­taches great im­por­tance to nu­clear se­cu­rity and ac­tively car­ries out co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries.

In­Novem­ber 2011, China es­tab­lished theNa­tion­alNu­clear Se­cu­rity Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, which pro­vides tech­ni­cal sup­port for the coun­try’s nu­clear se­cu­rity, nu­clear ma­te­ri­als con­trol and im­port and ex­port man­age­ment, and which is also re­spon­si­ble for the con­struc­tion, man­age­ment and oper­a­tion of the Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence on­Nu­clear Se­cu­rity, a joint project be­tween China and theUnited States.

While meet­ing with hisUS coun­ter­part Barack Obama on the side­lines of the sum­mit, Xi said the only cor­rect­way to solve the nu­clear is­sue on the Korean Penin­sula is to restart ne­go­ti­a­tions, he called on all rel­e­vant par­ties to restart the long stalled Six-Party Talks and im­ple­ment the goals set in a joint state­ment re­leased on Sept 19, 2005. He stressed that China has ma­jor in­ter­ests and con­cerns on the Korean Penin­sula, and firmly com­mits it­self to re­al­iz­ing the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the penin­sula and safe­guard­ing its peace and sta­bil­ity.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, the global nu­clear se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion will be­come more com­pli­cated with the evo­lu­tion of great power re­la­tions and emer­gence of newre­gional hotspot is­sues. China will seek ad­van­tages and avoid dis­ad­van­tages, seize newop­por­tu­ni­ties and ex­pand its in­ter­na­tional strate­gic ini­tia­tive. The au­thor is deputy di­rec­tor of World Pol­i­tics Re­search In­sti­tute, af­fil­i­ated to the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions.

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