Countries slated to participate in this month's Global Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea have differing opinions regarding the focus of the high-profile event, the Korea Times reported on Sunday (see GSN, March 2).
Delegates from France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, which together comprise four of the five recognized nuclear powers, last week met with other nations and organizations that have been invited to attend the summit, whose stated purpose is to prevent terrorists from accessing atomic substances for use in an attack.
More than 50 nations are expected to send heads of state and top officials to the March 26-27 summit in Seoul.
While the nuclear powers sought to focus attention at the Feb. 28 preparatory meeting in Seoul on the need to reach agreement on key nuclear security measures, other countries focused their attention on atomic energy plant safety concerns and topics that have not been included on the summit agenda such as the integrity of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.
China, the world's fifth nuclear power, did not take part in the Feb. 28 meeting.
Diplomat Mark Tokola, who represented Washington at the meeting, said "I heard several speakers mention this morning that nuclear issues are interrelated. Well, they are also separate."
"We think that it is important that we focus at the nuclear security summit ... [on] preventing nonstate actors from acquiring nuclear materials either for terrorism or for criminal purposes," said the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. "We cannot allow the security summit here deal with issues that are not germane to its purpose."
While the meeting was originally intended to focus on building on gains achieved at the 2010 Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, the March 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic energy site in Japan necessitated the inclusion of nuclear power disaster prevention on the Seoul forum agenda.
For a number of diplomats at the meeting last week, "unofficial summit issues" and atomic plant safety were more important than dealing with potential nuclear terrorist strikes (Philip Iglauer, Korea Times, March 4).
The Philippines intends to use this month's summit to advocate for stricter security protocols over nations' atomic substances, BusinessWorld reported on Sunday.
Countries slated to participate in this month's Global Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea have differing opinions regarding the focus of the high-profile event, the Korea Times reported on Sunday.