Time: 9:50 p.m. CEST
The key focus for the almost 60 countries, which will participate on the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C., an initiative of the President Barack Obama, will be how to disrupts plots with better cooperation and intelligence sharing. On Friday, the summit will have a special session for prevention of Islamic State and other extremism groups for obtaining nuclear materials for attacks in urban areas.
The two-day summit will begin with the working dinner, organized by President Obama at the White House on Thursday evening. National security advisor to the President, Ben Rhodes briefly explained on Thursday key expectations of the summit, originally initiated by the President speech he gave in Prague in 2009.
The broader topics of the summit are theft and sabotage of nuclear materials, but the leaders convening in D.C. would discuss even more pressing issues, related to current threats posed by Islamic State group, or even the threat of North Korea and its goals to create a viable nuclear device.
Another issue will be vulnerability of the computer systems at nuclear sites to computer hackers. Most recently, during the attacks in Brussels, the security of the nuclear sites raised the question that plots could be possible against those premises. Islamic State group is one of the latest organizations, which could press the alarm button on the global nuclear security.
An additional challenge for the summit is address issues of military stockpiles in Russia or in Pakistan, as the United States openly discuses what has of the military fissile materials. The usage of the nuclear potentials is different for various countries.
Many would rather refuse to talk openly for their stockpiles of the civilian plutonium, but others see nuclear material as additional energy source. Even though, the nuclear terrorism and the Islamic State group are highly on the agenda of this year’s summit, existing concerns about nuclear program of North Korea will also dominate.
The U.S. and key Asian countries could seek for more pressure on North Korea. The government in North Korea regularly talks against the U.S. and South Korea and warns with a pre-emptive strike against South Korea, or U.S. mainland.
The summit is also an opportunity for the President Obama to have bilateral talks or easy some of the tensions, for example on the cyber and maritime disputes in the South China See with the China’s President Xi Jinping. Obama met with Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The President will talk with the France President Francois Hollande after the Islamic State group claimed attacks in Paris and Brussels.
The summit promotes nuclear security, securing nuclear materials from terrorist organizations and other bad actors, Rhodes said in a press call previewing the summit. Promotion of the peaceful use of secure nuclear energy is also in the focus of the summit. “We have been focused on the roughly 2,000 tons of nuclear weapons usable materials, that is highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium that are present in both civilian and military programs around the world,” Rhodes said yesterday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not at the summit amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia in the past two years over issues related to Ukraine and Syria. However, major achievement for both countries was reached nuclear deal with Iran on July 15 last year. Key countries in the process for holding Nuclear Security Summit are the Netherlands, South Korea and the United States.