Nuclear Security Cooperation

Source: Getty
Op-Ed China Daily
Summary
The second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in March 2012 provides an opportunity for China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea to develop concrete cooperation on nuclear security.
Related Media and Tools
 

The upcoming summit in Seoul will explore ways to combat and prevent radiological terrorism in Northeast Asia. The second Nuclear Security Summit will be held in Seoul on March 26-27, 2012. The event provides an opportunity for China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to develop concrete cooperation on nuclear security.

The issue of nuclear security has a very different nature than most other international security issues. In normal security issues, if one country enhances its security capability, its neighbors may begin to feel threatened and therefore develop countermeasures, these competitions eventually result in a security dilemma. The goal of nuclear security on the other hand, is to stop nuclear terrorism, an enemy of all countries. Improving nuclear security in one country benefits not only that country but others as well.

To better work with one another, the participants of nuclear security summits try not to put controversial topics in the agenda. For example, the first Nuclear Security Summit did not invite Israel and it did not discuss the Iranian nuclear issue. While the upcoming summit will not include the Democratic People's Republic of Korea nuclear issue on the agenda. Such arrangements encourage the participants to develop cooperation in nuclear security although they may not agree with one another on other security issues.

China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are in geographical proximity in Northeast Asia and are economically dependent on each other. The radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as a result of the tsunami last year should remind us that a nuclear accident in any of the three would automatically hurt the other two. A successful terrorist attack on a nuclear plant would in all likelihood have consequences of even greater severity than those arising from the Fukushima crisis.

So, even though they may have disputes on economic and other security issues, the three countries should work together to prevent any terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities in this region.

The coming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul will provide momentum for China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to share their experiences and information and discuss their threat perceptions and ways to increase cooperation in nuclear security.

There are four categories of nuclear terrorism: stealing nuclear weapons, stealing fissile material for nuclear weapons, dispersing radioactive material and attacking nuclear facilities. While US experts worry more about terrorists stealing fissile material for nuclear weapons, experts in East Asia worry more about terrorists dispersing radioactive material and attacking nuclear facilities, in short, radiological terrorism.

Threat assessment and perception is a fundamental issue, as it tells the government how to allocate resources, how to fix loopholes in the security system and how to respond to emerging nuclear security challenges. It is important for experts in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to better understand how their counterparts in their neighboring countries and in the United States make risk assessments. Especially, they should know whether the differences and similarities in these threat assessments come from factual reasons or cultural reasons. Based on accurate threat assessments, the East Asia countries can therefore develop effective nuclear security systems. The experts from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea should launch discussions on their threat assessments after the summit and discuss them with their American counterparts.

Nuclear terrorism may involve cross-border activities, for example, illicit trafficking of fissile and radioactive materials, so information sharing among governments is necessary to prevent cross-boarder terrorist activities. China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are all signatories of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and Japan and China have ratified the convention. The core function of the convention is to criminalize nuclear terrorism. According to the convention, the parties should treat any nuclear-terrorism activity as a crime in their domestic laws.

The three countries have bilateral agreements with each other on legal assistance in criminal matters. So, the three governments can use the channels of legal assistance in criminal matters to share information about nuclear terrorism activities. Once a government discovers plans for a nuclear terrorist attack, it should inform the other two and the three countries should work together to prevent the crime. The existing cooperation among the three countries in legal assistance is useful to fight against nuclear terrorism in the region.

All three countries may have already accumulated some experience in fighting nuclear terrorist attacks. If so they should share their experiences with each other, as it will enable the other countries' personnel to better respond to similar threats. The three countries are also building new training centers to train new nuclear security forces, so they could also consider exchanges of syllabi, faculty and trainees.

Today East Asian countries are so closely linked and dependent on one another, no matter how much we disagree with each other on some other matters, we should help each other on nuclear security. The coming Nuclear Security Summit will enable China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to explore effective cooperation, which should also include the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the future.

This article originally appeared in China Daily.

End of document

About the Nuclear Policy Program

The Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program is an internationally acclaimed source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament. Its multinational staff stays at the forefront of nuclear policy issues in the United States, Russia, China, Northeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

 

Comments

 
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/20/nuclear-security-cooperation/a3w7

More from The Global Think Tank

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address in the field below to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
 
 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
 
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.

请注意...

你将离开清华—卡内基中心网站,进入卡内基其他全球中心的网站。