Wed, March 28, 2012
World > Asia-Pacific > President Hu Jintao on Asian Trip

Seoul Summit injects momentum into nuclear security process

2012-03-27 13:46:41 GMT2012-03-27 21:46:41(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Chinese President Hu Jintao (C) addresses the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (ROK), March 27, 2012. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua)-- The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), aimed at enhancing global efforts in fighting nuclear terrorism, ended here Tuesday, gaining momentum by endorsing Seoul Communique.

The Seoul Communique, adopted on the second and final day of the summit, largely restated the goals declared two years ago at the inaugural Washington summit, including securing and removing weapons-usable materials such as highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium and preventing illicit nuclear trafficking.

GAINING MOMENTUM

Participants to the summit agreed that progress has been made in the global community's efforts to strengthen national nuclear security and promote international nuclear cooperation since the Washington summit. They affirmed the significance of the Seoul summit, pledging to gather political will and enhancing coordination and cooperation.

They also agreed to take effective and pragmatic steps, which include helping developing countries to improve their nuclear security capacity and technical level, protecting nuclear facilities, preventing loss and proliferation of nuclear materials, ensuring peaceful use of nuclear energy and maintaining world peace and security.

Calling nuclear terrorism "one of the most challenging threats to international security," the leaders pledged to "work toward strengthening nuclear security, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, and preventing terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials."

Notable additions included calls on states to approve the 2005 amendments to the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM). The CPPNM, originally signed in 1980, is the only international legally binding convention in physical protection of nuclear materials. The amendments can take effect with the approval of two-thirds of member states.

Building upon the Washington Communique, the six-page Seoul Communique also encouraged states to announce voluntary actions aimed at minimizing the civilian use of HEU by 2013 and promote the use of low-enriched uranium instead.

Moreover, participating states shared views on the nexus between nuclear security and safety. The leaders emphasized the importance of nuclear safety, an issue which has become topical after the March 2011 Fukushima accident, and stressed the need to enhance protective measures at nuclear facilities.

They agreed that nuclear security and safety measures should be implemented in a coherent manner that can maximize the synergy between them.

It is often perceived that nuclear or radiological terrorism is carried out by terrorists who have acquired nuclear materials to build weapons or bombs. However, the radioactive leakage from the Fukushima accident made people aware of the possibility that apart from material extortion, similar disasters can take place through malfunctioning of a nuclear plant or sabotage of nuclear facilities.

In fact, both Washington and Seoul Summits contributed to bridging the gap in threat perceptions by providing opportunities for all participating states to deepen their common awareness of the importance of the matter at the highest political level and seek a coordinated response.

CHINA'S STAND ON NUCLEAR SECURITY

China reaffirms its policy on using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and keeping nuclear safety and security.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told the summit on Tuesday that China has taken active steps to enhance nuclear security and made new and substantive achievements since the first nuclear security summit in Washington two years ago.

In his address titled "Toward Greater Nuclear Security Through Cooperation," Hu said China has attached great importance to building nuclear security capacity and has conducted comprehensive and nationwide inspection on the security of its nuclear facilities.

Hu said China earnestly honored its international nuclear security obligations, and has ratified the CPPNM and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. "China has earnestly fulfilled its obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions," he added.

China has engaged in extensive international nuclear security cooperation and has signed with the IAEA an agreement on nuclear security cooperation, the Chinese president said.

In his speech, Hu stressed that the common goal of universal nuclear security can only be achieved with concerted efforts of all countries. He put forward a four-point proposal on enhancing nuclear security under the new circumstances: to follow a scientific and sensible approach to nuclear security and boost confidence in the development of nuclear energy to strengthen nuclear security capacity building and live up to national responsibility for ensuring nuclear security; to deepen international exchanges and cooperation and improve nuclear security around the world; to take a comprehensive approach and address both the symptoms and root causes of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

To this end, he said China will continue to work for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, keep to the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, remain committed to the international nuclear nonproliferation efforts, support the right of countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and make its due contributions to building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.

CONCERTED EFFORTS NEEDED

International cooperative measures and a series of effective actions are needed to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials.

One challenge is to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials, which includes about 1,600 metric tons of HEU and around 500 metric tons of separated plutonium.

Nuclear smuggling is another window into the threat. Evidences suggest that in the past years, terrorists have tried every means to obtain nuclear and radioactive materials.

There is no doubt that concerted efforts of international society are needed for nuclear security, especially the security of HEU and separated plutonium.

As part of the efforts, the Seoul Communique encourages states to "consider the safe, secure and timely removal and disposition of nuclear materials from facilities no longer using them, as appropriate, and consistent with national security considerations and development objectives."

The "2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit" is the largest summit in the security field that discusses international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups, with participation from more than 53 heads of state and international organizations -- the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Union (EU) and Interpol.

 

 

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