World leaders meet in Seoul to improve nuclear security (WASHINGTON TIMES) By Andrew Salmon SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 03/26/12)
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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
Key topics include nuclear safety in the aftermath of Japan’s post-
tsunami nuclear reactor meltdowns last year and the security of
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
“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 Sung-hwan 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
• 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 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
“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
state-run media calls an “international smear campaign.” (© 2012 The
Washington Times, LLC. 03/26/12)
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