On September 28, 2011 Duyeon Kim, Deputy Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, was quoted in Korea’s Yonhap News on the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit.
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(Click here for a rough translation of the Korean language article)
Reprinted in The Korea Times (English language) here.
(LEAD) Safety of NK nuke facilities can be discussed at Seoul summit: researcher
By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) — The specific problem of North Korea’s nuclear program is unlikely to be high on the agenda at the second Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) to be held in Seoul next year, but it would be a “political loss” for the Lee Myung-bak administration if leaders neglect the issue altogether, a disarmament researcher said Wednesday.
Kim Du-yeon, deputy director of nuclear non-proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, pointed out that the secretive communist nation’s nuclear facilities might be secure from outside threats, but their safety remains a concern, especially in light of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactors, crippled by a March earthquake.
“It is not realistic to expect that a discussion on North Korea will take center stage at the NSS. It would, however, be a great political loss for Seoul if leaders neglect to mention Seoul’s biggest security threat, particularly in the face of the general public, who usually associate ‘nuclear threats’ with North Korea,” she said at a forum hosted by the Korea Economic Institute.
The biennial nuclear summit, launched under the initiative of U.S. President Barack Obama as part of his nuclear-free world campaign, is mainly aimed at curbing weapons proliferation and terrorism.
Seoul is scheduled to host the second summit, involving the leaders of about 50 nations, March 26-27.
The Fukushima incident has provided momentum for the Seoul session to expand the agenda to include nuclear safety, Kim said.
“Among the world’s nuclear facilities, the reclusive regime’s facilities may be the installations most secure from outsider threats, but their safety remains a concern,” she added.
She noted that the South Korean president invited the North’s leader, Kim Jong-il, to the summit.
She said if Kim joins the event, it would provide a symbolic and practical chance for Pyongyang to show its determination to denuclearize itself and become a responsible member of the international community.
She was cautious about the possibility, however, saying a number of preconditions exist, including the North’s implementation of the 2005 joint statement at the six-party nuclear talks and the resumption of the negotiations, also involving the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.
Quoting South Korean government officials, Kim said the discussion at the Seoul meeting will include efforts to encourage countries to convert highly enriched uranium programs to those less conducive to weapons production.