The year 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Korea. During the course of more than 50 years, the two countries have been strengthening bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the area of politics, trade, as well as science and technology.
The two countries have formed global partnership and closely cooperated with each other in many areas, including the ways to ensure nuclear security in the world. The Swedish highest government delegation is going to participate in the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul late March to discuss ways to prevent the nuclear terrorism, deemed the most serious security threat today.
Currently, it is estimated that around 1,600 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 500 tons of plutonium are stored in locations scattered all around the world. This amount of nuclear material is readily convertible into some 126,500 nuclear warheads.
It would be a huge threat to cross-border security if these materials fall into wrong hands. It is to be remembered that Al-Qaeda and some other terrorist groups such as Aum Shinrikyo attempted to acquire nuclear materials.
When the U.S. President Barack Obama laid out his vision for ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ in Prague back in April, 2009, he pointed out that securing nuclear security is the stepping stone on which that ultimate goal may be reached.
In accordance with his vision, the first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, D.C. in 2010, where the heads of 47 countries and three international organizations gathered to discuss ways to safeguard nuclear materials.
Korea will take over the baton and host the second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on March 26 and 27 this year. The hosting of this event reflects the international community’s growing recognition of the way Korea handles its nuclear programs for peaceful purposes.
As a premier security forum, the Seoul summit will consolidate the highest political resolve of leaders worldwide and take an important step in realizing a world free of nuclear terrorism.
By working further on the vision and commitments made at the Washington Summit, the Seoul Summit will contribute to developing the global nuclear security architecture.
During the Summit, participating heads of states will review an issue of nuclear safety, under the spotlight in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident, from the viewpoint of nuclear security and adopt as an agenda the interface and synergy of the nuclear safety and security. It is hoped that the Seoul Summit will help provide momentum to restore confidence in the nuclear energy.
The nuclear security affects everyone and should be treated as such, requiring the cooperation of every country on the planet. With more than 50 world leaders gathering in Seoul to engage in discussions on key nuclear issues, the Summit will also serve as a platform to send a strong message to securing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
I look forward to continued interest and support of the Swedish government and its people for the upcoming Summit.
Mr Seock-jeong EOM
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea