China pro­motes global nu­clear gover­nance

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping will be in­Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day and Fri­day to at­tend the fourthNu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit, in which China plays an im­por­tant role to im­prove global nu­clear gover­nance. The most im­por­tant as­pect of nu­clear se­cu­rity is safe­guard­ing nu­clear weapons, es­pe­cially at a time when the spread of ter­ror­ism in theMiddle East and the ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Europe pose a threat to nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion.

Ter­ror­ists, es­pe­cially those wreak­ing havoc in theMiddle East, see theUnited States as their com­mon en­emy. To tackle this ris­ing threat, theUS has to work with all coun­tries, China in par­tic­u­lar.

In fact, re­cent years have seen more fre­quent in­ter­ac­tions be­tween theUS and China on the is­sue. This month, the largest and most ad­vanced nu­clear se­cu­rity cen­ter started op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing. Co-es­tab­lished by China Atomic En­ergy Au­thor­ity and the US Depart­ment of En­ergy, the cen­ter is mainly aimed at pre­vent­ing the smug­gling of nu­clear ma­te­ri­als and pro­vid­ing train­ing to nu­clear de­tec­tion ex­perts in the re­gion.

An­other im­por­tant as­pect of nu­clear se­cu­rity is re­lated to civil nu­clear power plants. Nu­clear power plants do pro­duce clean en­ergy, but their se­cu­rity and safety re­main of ut­most con­cern, as the Fukushima ac­ci­dent in Ja­pan in 2011 showed nu­clear power plants re­main vul­ner­a­ble to not only ter­ror­ist at­tacks but also nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

For China, nu­clear se­cu­rity is­sues are chal­lenges as well as op­por­tu­ni­ties. First, China ac­cords the highest pri­or­ity to nu­clear se­cu­rity and safety. At the thirdNu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit in TheHague, theNether­lands, in 2014, Xi put for­ward China’s nu­clear se­cu­rity con­cept— ad­her­ing to se­cu­rity in devel­op­ment to achieve devel­op­ment in se­cu­rity.

Xi is ex­pected to push for­ward this con­cept at theWash­ing­ton nu­clear sum­mit, too, and de­fend the rights of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to de­velop nu­clear en­ergy for civil use. On this point, theUS and China have some dis­agree­ments. Wash­ing­ton con­tends that civil nu­clear tech­nol­ogy can be turned into mil­i­tary nu­clear tech­nol­ogy, andUS Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in­sists on strength­en­ing su­per­vi­sion of nu­clear ma­te­ri­als.

Sec­ond, China is in a po­si­tion to ex­port nu­clear power tech­nol­ogy for civil use. Thanks to decades of devel­op­ment, China is now a leader in nu­clear power tech­nol­ogy. With its third-gen­er­a­tion nu­clear power tech­nol­ogy, China has also been strength­en­ing the safety and se­cu­rity as­pects of the tech­nol­ogy ac­cord­ing to the most strin­gent in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. It has also achieved a ma­jor break­through in the devel­op­ment of fourth-gen­er­a­tion nu­clear power tech­nol­ogy, lay­ing a solid foun­da­tion for ex­port­ing safe nu­clear tech­nol­ogy.

Last year, China’s nu­clear power tech­nol­ogy made in­roads into coun­tries con­sid­ered tra­di­tion­ally strong in nu­clear power gen­er­a­tion. China is also work­ing with theUnited King­dom and France on nu­clear power in­vest­ment projects. That’s why Xi could high­light China’s achieve­ments in the field of civil nu­clear en­ergy at the Wash­ing­ton sum­mit and show the world that it is fully ca­pa­ble of ex­port­ing nu­clear en­ergy tech­nol­ogy for civil use.

Chi­nese lead­ers have at­tended all the three Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mits. And since China and the US share many com­mon in­ter­ests in the field of nu­clear se­cu­rity, they have all the rea­sons to co­op­er­ate on the is­sue. The deal reached in 2015 with Iran to limit its nu­clear power us­age showed co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the US is good for the world.

Be­sides, China em­pha­sizes both rights and obli­ga­tions in nu­clear safety, as well as har­mo­nious co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries to cre­ate a peace­ful in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment so that nu­clear se­cu­rity is­sues can be re­solved. At the Wash­ing­ton sum­mit, there­fore, Xi is ex­pected to play an even more con­struc­tive role in global nu­clear gover­nance and to make it re­flect the in­ter­ests and needs of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

The au­thors are re­searchers at the Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion, a do­mes­tic think tank.

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