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Nuclear Summit Opens Amid Protests

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By Stephen Hong and John Won

The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit aimed at curbing nuclear proliferation and terrorism began in the South Korean capital today to the sounds of protesters demanding an end to atomic power once and for all.

Leaders from 53 countries, including presidents Barrack Obama of the US, Hu Jintao of China and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia are attending the two-day talks, which are also likely to include discussions on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Pyongyang has called the talks a “provocation” and said that any resolution made against it would be regarded as a declaration of war.

The summit is expected to end tomorrow with the announcement of the Seoul Communique, reducing nuclear weapon stockpiles.

Before the meeting, around 3,000 anti-nuclear protesters rallied yesterday and today in Seoul, arguing that “it is contradictory to discuss nuclear security without including the dangers of nuclear power.”

During protests, yesterday Setsuko Kuroda from Fukushima, Japan, said the Japanese government had assured people “its nuclear power plants were the safest in the world but disaster still struck,” adding that no one can guarantee “nuclear power’s safety.”

Meanwhile, religious leaders today called upon the leaders at the talks to get rid of all nuclear weapons and stop atomic energy use.

“Nuclear power is just like the weapons — an evil that cannot coexist with humanity,” said Father Stephen Yang Ki-suk, executive secretary of the Korean bishops’ Committee for Environment.

The Seoul meeting is the second round of talks forming the Nuclear Security Summit. The first round, organized by President Obama, was held in Washington in April 2010. The next meeting will be in the Netherlands in 2014.

UCA News

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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