The nuclear summit includes both states and non-state actors and is designed as a collective effort to resolve issues of nuclear security and terrorism. At the heart of the Summit’s agenda is the concern relative to nuclear safety measures, its proliferation and illegal trafficking as well as efforts to reduce the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU).
The idea of a nuclear security summit was first proposed by President Barack Obama in 2009 when he singled out nuclear terrorism as the most serious threat to international security and announced his plan to lead a global effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world in four years. In line with President Obama’s predilection, the first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington in 2010 and the second held in Seoul on March 26-27, 2012. The nuclear summit includes both states and non-state actors and is designed as a collective effort to resolve issues of nuclear security and terrorism. At the heart of the Summit’s agenda is the concern relative to nuclear safety measures, its proliferation and illegal trafficking as well as efforts to reduce the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU). In the recently concluded nuclear security summit, the attendees included 53 heads of state and government, as well as representatives of the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, European Union and INTERPOL. The Seoul Communique built on the first nuclear security summit by identifying 11 areas of priority and importance in nuclear security including: the global nuclear security architecture, the role of the IAEA, nuclear materials, radioactive sources, nuclear security and safety, transportation security, combating illicit trafficking, nuclear forensics, nuclear security culture, information security and international cooperation. The Seoul Summit noted with much pleasure that concrete results had indeed been achieved in the areas identified above since the Washington Summit. In particular, around 530 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from eight countries have been removed for disposal, an amount enough to produce about 21 nuclear weapons with Ukraine and Mexico accomplishing a total cleanout of all stockpiles of HEU just prior to the Seoul Summit by returning them to Russia and the US respectively.
Pakistan also attended and made its presence felt in the two-day summit. It made its adherence to the nuclear security culture a priority and assured its full cooperation with the IAEA and its regulations. Pakistan has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons with the United States expressing fear last year that Pakistani nuclear weapons might fall in the hands of terrorists. During the summit, Pakistan reiterated its commitment to nuclear safety and security by emphasizing that it possesses ‘a rigorous regulatory regime covering all matters related to nuclear safety and security including physical protection of materials and facilities, material control and accounting, transport security, prevention of illicit trafficking and border controls, as well as plans to deal with possible radiological emergencies.’ Based on its experience with nuclear technology, Pakistan, during the summit, asserted that it qualifies to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and export control regimes on a non-discriminatory basis. Moreover, Pakistan also committed itself to opening up a Nuclear Security Training Centre to act as a regional and international hub and deploying Special Nuclear Material Portals on key exit and entry points to counter the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials.