WASHINGTON -- Chinese President Hu Jintao and other world leaders met in Washington on Tuesday for a nuclear security summit aimed mainly at preventing acts of nuclear terrorism.
The leaders of the international delegations pose for a group photo at the Nuclear Security Summit 2010 in Washington, April 13, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
The leaders or their representatives from 47 countries are attending the summit at the Washington Convention Center.
The United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union are also participating in the summit, which was proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama.
"The summit is dedicated to nuclear security and the threat of nuclear terrorism. And I think that it is absolutely fundamental to view this summit with the starting point of the grave nature of the threat of nuclear terrorism," Ben Rhodes, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, said at a briefing last Friday.
"We know that terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, are pursuing the materials to build a nuclear weapon, and we know that they have the intent to use one. This of course would be a catastrophic danger to American national security and to global security were they able to carry out that kind of attack," he said.
In a speech in Prague last April, Obama described nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security and called for a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years.
"We must also build on our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade," he said while proposing a summit on nuclear security.
At the summit, President Hu will deliver a speech that will explain the importance of strengthening nuclear security for the sustained and healthy development of nuclear energy and international security and stability,elaborate on China's policy and practices on nuclear security and make proposals for cooperation in coping with international challenges,according to Chinese diplomats.
During a telephone conversation with Obama on April 2, Hu said China attaches great importance to the issue of nuclear security, opposing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism and supporting international efforts to enhance cooperation on nuclear security.
China is ready to work closely with the United States and other sides concerned to make sure that the summit is successful and fruitful, Hu said.
As a major power of nuclear energy development, China has taken a series of effective steps to ensure nuclear security and established relatively comprehensive nuclear security and safety regulations and monitoring systems.
China has played an active role in the development of related international conventions on nuclear security and maintained close exchanges and cooperation with the IAEA and other countries.
Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang described the summit "as an important multilateral meeting" when he announced Hu's attendance at the summit.
"We hope the summit will achieve a consensus by all countries on nuclear security and yield positive results," Qin said.
On Monday evening, President Hu and other leaders attended a kickoff working dinner, which was chaired by President Obama.
The focus of the opening dinner, a component of the summit, was on the threat of nuclear terrorism and the magnitude of the threat.