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SEOUL -- The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is scheduled to open in Seoul on Monday in an effort to beef up international cooperation in quelling the threat of nuclear terrorism.
The two-day summit is expected to draw representatives from 53 countries and four international organizations, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
The summit sets out the main objective as ensuring the world's nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities are not obtained by terrorist groups, and will discuss major issues including cooperative measures to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism, protection of nuclear materials and related facilities, and prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.
It is expected to endorse the Seoul Communique, which will outline the goal of minimizing stocks and use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium, address issues of the nexus between nuclear security and nuclear safety, deepen global cooperation to prevent nuclear materials and facilities smuggling, and call on more countries to commit to international agreements and initiatives dealing with nuclear security.
US President Barack Obama first revealed his ambitious goal of a world without nuclear weapons in April 2009 in Prague, and hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010 in Washington DC to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorist groups and mitigate nuclear material dangers.
The 2010 Washington summit, with the participation of leaders and representatives from 47 countries, adopted a broad communique iterating the participating countries' commitment to the goal of securing nuclear materials in four years, and a more detailed work plan outlining specific steps as to how the broad goals and commitments of the communique will be implemented.
The most important outcome of the Washington summit was the shared recognition among heads of states of the urgency and seriousness of the threat of nuclear terrorism, and the subsequent rallying of political commitment to addressing the issue.
Seoul summit will provide a setting for the discussion of concrete measures for realizing the goals outlined in Washington. Also, with heightened international interest in nuclear safety since the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in March 2011, expansion of nuclear safety measures will be on the agenda as well.
International cooperation in securing nuclear materials is needed as the world faces a difficult job of safeguarding and avoiding the abuse of nuclear materials.