World lead­ers meet in Seoul to im­prove nu­clear se­cu­rity

The Washington Times Daily - - From Page One - BY AN­DREW SALMON

SEOUL | The two-day 2012 Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit, which opens here Mon­day, aims to pre­vent nu­clear ter­ror­ism by im­prov­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion and pro­tec­tive mea­sures for atomic fa­cil­i­ties and ma­te­ri­als.

Key top­ics in­clude nu­clear safety in the af­ter­math of Ja­pan’s post-tsunami nu­clear re­ac­tor melt­downs last year and the se­cu­rity of atomic ma­te­ri­als.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency, 2,164 in­ci­dents in­volv­ing the unau­tho­rized pos­ses­sion, loss or theft of nu­clear and ra­dioac­tive ma­te­ri­als have oc­curred be­tween 1993 and 2011. An es­ti­mated 1,600 tons of highly en­riched uranium (HEU) and 500 tons of plu­to­nium, which can be weaponized, are scat­tered world­wide.

More than 50 world lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Obama, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao and U.N. Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ban Ki-moon, are ex­pected to at­tend the Seoul sum­mit, which fol­l­lows 2010’s in­au­gu­ral nu­clear se­cu­rity meet­ing in Washington.

“The Seoul Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit will build on the Washington sum­mit, which gath­ered the world’s po­lit­i­cal will on nu­clear se­cu­rity,” South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Sungh­wan said in a news brief­ing. “It will be a ‘peace sum­mit’ to give fu­ture gen­er­a­tions a more peace­ful and safer world.”

Mr. Kim said he hopes “con­crete” steps on nu­clear se­cu­rity will be taken in Seoul.

“First of all, we will re­new the com­mit­ment of lead­ers on the im­por­tance of nu­clear ter­ror­ism: This is very im­por­tant — to high­light the po­lit­i­cal im­pe­tus,” said sum­mit spokesman Han Chung-hee. “Sec­ond, we hope for sub­stan­tial progress on HEU and plu­to­nium min­i­miza­tion. And we have to show com­mit­ment to re­in­force in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity norms and mech­a­nisms.”

The sum­mit is ex­pected to fi­nal­ize agree­ments and wrap up Tues­day with a press con­fer­ence in which its achieve­ments will be out­lined in a “Seoul Com­mu­nique.”

A draft of the doc­u­ment ob­tained by The Washington Times lists 13 ar­eas, in­clud­ing:

Urg­ing coun­tries to in­cor­po­rate in­ter­na­tional agree­ments on nu­clear se­cu­rity into their laws.

Call­ing for stronger state con­trol over civil nu­clear ma­te­ri­als.

Up­grad­ing best se­cu­rity prac­tices in trans­port of nu­clear ma­te­ri­als.

Im­prov­ing prac­tices in nu­clear foren­sics, the sci­ence of iden­ti­fy­ing atomic ma­te­ri­als by their source.

Build­ing on in­ter­na­tional frame­works to pre­vent il­le­gal trade of nu­clear ma­te­ri­als.

Nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion is not on the agenda, but North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram is likely to dom­i­nate side dis­cus­sions as lead­ers meet for bi­lat­eral sum­mits on the fringes of the con­fer­ence.

North Korea’s regime has an­nounced it will launch a satel­lite in April, which many ex­perts con­sider a cover for a bal­lis­tic mis­sile test.

“Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, the sum­mit is sup­posed to cover nu­clear se­cu­rity and that is more phys­i­cal se­cu­rity of the ma­te­ri­als, com­po­nents and tech­nolo­gies,” said Dan Pinkston, who heads the In­ter­na­tional Cri­sis Group’s Seoul of­fice. “North Korea is not sup­posed to be the fo­cus of the sum­mit, but, yes, I would ex­pect it to come up.”

North Korean rep­re­sen­ta­tives will not at­tend the sum­mit, which its staterun me­dia calls an “in­ter­na­tional smear cam­paign.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Obama. with South Korean Pres­i­dent Lee Myung-bak, is in Seoul with other world lead­ers to dis­cuss mea­sures to safe­guard atomic fa­cil­i­ties and ma­te­ri­als. South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Sung-hwan said he hopes “con­crete steps” will be taken dur­ing the sum­mit, which opens Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.