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China slated to play bigger role in nuclear security after NSS summit

The Fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) will be the last session attended by national leaders, as it will be replaced with ministerial meetings hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Analysts predicted that China will play a bigger role in global nuclear security in the “post-summit” era.


IAEA’s first-ever nuclear security ministerial meeting will be held in December in its headquarters in Vienna, capital of Austria. The changes mean that after the conclusion of two-day Washington DC summit on Thursday and Friday, the current summit mechanism participated by the heads of state will be stopped.


Fan Jishe, a scholar from Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the People’s Daily that an IAEA-led nuclear security process complies with principles advocated by China.


The IAEA, coordinated with the UN, serves as a platform for all governments in research and technology cooperation on atomic energy, Fan said, adding that in the future, it will be a mainstream for states to collaborate with the organization or conduct multilateral cooperation with other countries via the platform.


He explained that despite having limited functions in the past, the IAEA has expanded its capabilities and is now strong enough to shoulder its responsibility as a cooperation platform after rounds of consultations at the previous summits.


The UN, as the largest inter-governmental organization worldwide, is also an indispensable platform in addressing global issues like nuclear security, Fan added.


According to him, the International Criminal Police Organization also needs to step up efforts in fighting theft, cross-border smuggling and the illegal trade of nuclear material. Countries should devote more to intelligence sharing as well.


Besides the resolutions adopted by the UN, some other international conventions will come into effect. The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material are two of them.


But some risks still challenge the nuclear security progress in the “post-summit” era, Li Bin, professor from Tsinghua University told People’s Daily.


The present global devotion to institutional construction mainly focuses on organizations and international law, but more efforts are demanded to urge the countries beef up cooperation with IAEA and provide financial and technical support, Li explained.


It is also uncertain whether the resolutions of UN Security Council and other international treaties will be abided by, he stressed.


Global society has been asking about the role of China in global nuclear security cooperation as a major nuclear country.


Fan predicted that China will play a more active role in engaging in and promoting nuclear security. “It will probably become one of major players,” he added.


The scholar elaborated that China maintains a good record in nuclear security, which itself is a great contribution to the world.


He further pointed out that in global cooperation, China has set up a nuclear security center together with the US. The center will contribute to global exchanges, cooperation, education, training, as well as research and demonstration of new technologies in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.


China also offers technological support to other nations, stressed the scholar, citing an example that it now is helping Ghana reduce the use of high-enriched uranium material in its miniature nuclear source reactors.


It is also broadening its cooperation with other countries to fight against the illegal trade of nuclear materials in its territory and neighboring regions, Fan added.


(Wu Qiong contributed to the story.)


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