In nuclear summit preview, focus on cooperation

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In nuclear summit preview, focus on cooperation

A glimpse of what is to be expected at next year’s nuclear summit in Seoul was provided by several participants at a recent meeting of 47 countries, when participants talked of the importance of cooperation among nations.

The main meeting was held behind closed doors at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, but a separate discussion was held by Laura S. H. Holgate, senior director for weapons of mass destruction terrorism and threat reduction on the U.S. National Security staff; Hahn Choong-hee of the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, deputy director for strategic affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France; and Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The hour-long discussion was moderated by Sheen Seong-ho, associate professor of international relations at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of International Studies. The consensus of the discussion, held June 27, was that finding a solution must be a joint effort.

North Korea’s nuclear program is expected to be a pressing issue - which will be discussed at length next year - because of concerns it poses due to the lack of “international visibility” and “no authoritative view” inside the country, said Holgate.

Hahn added that next year’s summit would be an opportunity “to send a message to North Korea to resolve the nuclear problem.” Closely linked to North Korea and presenting an even greater threat to security around the world are growing efforts by terrorist groups to gain weapons of mass destruction.

“Terrorist groups have shown an interest in smuggling nuclear material,” said Al Kaabi. “The threat is real and this is why it’s important that governments come together at the highest level.”

Simon-Michel noted that even after the death of Osama Bin Laden, “terrorism still remains a great concern. We have an even stronger terrorist movement that is connected to Al Qaeda. We see this as a current and actual threat.”

The French negotiator said nuclear terrorism could seem “theoretical until the day it happens, but if it occurs, it would be the worst terrorist attack the world has ever known.”

The nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was also brought up as a possible discussion point for the summit. “What we saw in Japan was a disaster, but it raises questions about security and facilities,” said Al Kaabi.

Simon-Michel stressed that the nuclear power plant issue poses a much bigger risk because there are 50 reactors in France alone. He emphasized that nuclear power plants must have stability so that they can function under any circumstance, including “resisting a terrorist attack from an airplane.” Holgate said the Fukushima issue will be a “reference point” but it will “not be dominating the agenda” for next year’s nuclear summit.

The participants agreed that even coming to a joint understanding would be a great feat. “Some countries do not perceive the [nuclear] threat as a threat to them,” said Hahn. “This is another challenge we have to convince them [on] and we have to share information and intelligence.”

Holgate emphasized the importance of getting “the community on the same page,” citing the last nuclear summit in Washington as an example. “The original guest list was diverse,” she said. “This was not like having the usual suspects.”


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
세계 47개국 '서울 핵안보 코뮈니케' 협의 착수
핵안보정상회의 부교섭대표회의 서울서 개막
내년 3월 26~27일 열릴 제2차 서울 핵안보정상회의 준비를 위한 부교섭대표회의가 이틀간 일정으로 27일 서울 신라호텔에서 개막됐다.

회의에는 핵안보정상회의 참석대상 국가인 47개국과 유엔ㆍ유럽연합(EU)ㆍ국제원자력기구(IAEA)ㆍ인터폴(interpol) 등 4개 국제기구 부교섭대표들이 참석했다. 인터폴은 내년 2차 서울 정상회의에 처음으로 초청된다.

부교섭대표들은 회의에서 지난해 1차 워싱턴 핵안보정상회의 합의사항의 이행상황을 점검하고 앞으로의 구체적 실행목표인 '실천적 비전'을 논의했다.

특히 내년 핵안보정상회의 결과문서(서울 코뮈니케)에 담길 내용과 주요의제를 중점 협의했다.


한충희 핵안보정상회의 부교섭대표는 연합뉴스와의 전화통화에서 "지난해 1차 워싱턴 정상회의가 광범위한 정치적 의지를 결집시키는 선언적 성격을 띠었다면 2차 서울 정상회의는 보다 실천적인 비전과 핵심 목표를 논의하는 자리가 될 것"이라고 말했다.

또 일본 후쿠시마 원전사고를 계기로 대두된 핵안전(nuclear safety) 문제와 핵안보 이슈와의 상관관계를 논의하고 방사성 물질 통제를 통한 테러 방지를 의제로 채택하는 방안을 논의할 것으로 알려졌다.

김성환 외교통상부 장관의 환영사와 김봉현 외교통상부 다자조정관 주최로 열리는 환영만찬도 예정돼 있다.

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