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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Nuclear security cooperation (2)

By Li Bin (China Daily)

10:06, March 20, 2012

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.

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