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Seoul Nuclear Security Summit to open Monday

March 23, 2012 - 18:36 By Korea Herald
The two-day Nuclear Security Summit kicks off Monday in Seoul, bringing together leaders of 53 countries and four international organizations for discussions on how to combat nuclear threats and enhance nuclear security and safety.

Event organizers said Friday they had almost finalized preparations for Korea’s largest-ever diplomatic event, completing the establishment of facilities at COEX in southern Seoul to accommodate some 10,000 summit participants.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who initiated the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010, and other state leaders including Chinese President Hu Jintao, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are attending the summit.

The U.S. Department of State said Thursday it will prioritize devising measures to secure nuclear and radioactive materials and prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists at the summit.

Korea held a Nuclear Security Symposium on Friday, inviting hundreds of nuclear experts from around the world, as well as a two-day Nuclear Industry Summit for nuclear energy industry leaders to help advance atomic safety and global security.

South Korea faces a direct nuclear threat from terrorists, said one expert at the symposium, citing a news report that Osama Bin Laden had urged his al-Qaida followers to attack U.S. allies including South Korea.

Graham Allison, author of “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe,” also raised the possibility that North Korean terrorists could smuggle nuclear and radioactive materials into the South and make so-called “dirty bombs” to attack Seoul.

The North Korean nuclear issue will not be on the official agenda of the summit but is expected to be touched upon in separate bilateral talks.

All countries involved in the six-party nuclear talks, except for the North, are participating in the Seoul summit.

After three rounds of meetings from Monday dinner to Tuesday luncheon, the participating countries will announce the outcome of the event, the Seoul Communique, on Tuesday afternoon.

Then, President Lee Myung-bak will hold a press conference and host dinner, attending cultural performances in the evening with his counterparts and their spouses.

By Kim Yoon-mi