Obama Kicks Off Nuclear Summit, Highlights Emerging Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 13, 2010 12:52pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Stressing the threat of nuclear terrorism to global security, President Barack Obama announced today that the next Nuclear Nations Summit will be held in 2012 in South Korea. “This reflects South Korea's leadership regionally and globally, and I thank President Lee and the South Korean people for their willingness to accept this responsibility,” the president said after kicking off the first plenary session of this year’s summit.   “Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history.  The risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up,” Obama warned leaders at the Washington Convention Center this morning.  “It is increasingly clear that the danger of nuclear  terrorism is one of the greatest threats to global security, to our collective security.” The president cautioned that plutonium “the size of an apple” in the wrong hands could kill hundreds of thousands of people, if found in the hands of terrorists. The closed door session today will focus on concrete actions to secure nuclear materials and prevent illicit trafficking and smuggling. The president said that last night during the summit’s closed-door working dinner they made “progress” pursing a shared understanding of the “grave threat” of nuclear weapons. “We have the opportunity as partners to ensure that our progress is not a fleeting moment, but part of a serious and sustained effort,” the president said closing short opening remarks.  “I believe strongly that the problems of the 21st century cannot be solved by any one nation acting in isolation.  They must be solved by all of us coming together.” At the top of his remarks Mr. Obama prompted a moment of silence for the loss of Polish President Kaczynski, and the first lady of Poland.
   
“This was a loss not just for Poland but for the world.  As a close friend and ally, the United States with Poland and Poles everywhere in these very difficult days,” he said.  “As an international community, I know that we will all rally around the Polish people, who have shown extraordinary strength and resilience throughout their history.”  
     
Mr. Obama will be in a series of closed door bilateral meetings and working groups for the remainder of the day. He will make remarks later in the day for a post-summit press conference.

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