By Teshu Singh
China was a participant in the first nuclear security summit held in Washington two years ago. Ever since, China has taken active steps to enhance nuclear security and achieve new and substantive progress. At the present summit, the Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered his inaugural address titled ‘Towards greater Nuclear Security through Cooperation’, elaborating China’s position and efforts made as well as important measures taken in the field of nuclear summit.
In his speech, Chinese President attached great importance to national nuclear security, capacity-building investment in China. He added that China has strengthened human resources development in the field of nuclear security to conduct a comprehensive nationwide inspection of security of its nuclear facilities. The country has employed five hundred employees to strengthen the safety management of radioactive sources and radioactive waste, promoting the construction of national radioactive source database. All the above stated efforts will eventually lead to the strengthening of nuclear non-proliferation regime.
He highlighted, that China has fulfilled international nuclear security obligations and has signed the ‘Nuclear Material Physical Protection of Nuclear Material’ which was further amended in 2005. It ratified the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism in August 2010. China has also strictly implemented its obligations under relevant United Nations Security Resolution, including Resolution 1540 and 1887.
Hu reaffirmed his desire to carry out a wide range of nuclear safety and international cooperation and supported the IAEA to play a central role in the field of nuclear safety. He mentioned that the Centre of Excellence on Nuclear Security in China is coming up and the Detection Training Centre of China custom service is already functional. He affirmed that with the success of the Sino-US joint project of using HEU to LEU fuel China has entered into implementation phase. China is willing to assist other countries for converting of HEU research reactors.
He stressed that China has actively provided assistance in nuclear security and safety to other countries. It has hosted nuclear security workshops for nearly hundred trainees from over ten Asia-Pacific countries. Emphasizing on the nuclear security issue he said that China has worked hard to ensure nuclear security during large public events. China has undertaken a number of major international events in Shanghai Worlds Expo and Guanghzhou Asian Games.
In his speech, the Chinese President stressed that the common goal of universal nuclear security can only be achieved with concerted effort of all countries. He then put forward a four-point proposal on enhancing nuclear security under the new circumstances: “to follow a scientific and sensible approach to nuclear security and boost confidence in the development of nuclear energy to strengthen nuclear security capacity building and live up to national responsibility for ensuring nuclear security; to deepen international exchanges and cooperation and improve nuclear security around the world. We need to promote the universality of relevant international legal instruments, promote the application of nuclear security standards and norms, help developing countries to raise their technical capabilities; to take a comprehensive approach and address both the symptoms and root causes of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.”
To achieve the above stated goals, Hu Jintao said, China will continue to work for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, keep to the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, remain committed to the international nuclear nonproliferation efforts, support the right of countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and make its due contributions to building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.
All the above mentioned points by the President Hu were constructive recommendation for the nuclear security in the world. But it was more of rhetoric where no clarity was made by the Chinese side about its own nuclear programme. China has done little to make its nuclear programme transparent. Additionally, Sino-US joint efforts to engage in nuclear security issues were visible. However, Hu Jintao did believe that the summit of this level has raised the international awareness on nuclear safety and security.
Research Officer, CRP, IPCS