Japan slams North Korea at nuclear summit

2012-03-27 17:48

Seoul - Japan steered off the agenda at a nuclear security summit on Tuesday to hit out at North Korea's plans for a rocket launch next month, as US President Barack Obama cautioned against complacency in dealing with the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The summit was briefly interrupted by a dispute between Argentina and Britain, which went to war in 1982 over the Falkland Islands, over suggestions Britain had sent a submarine capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the South Atlantic.

A communique issued at the end of the two-day meeting of more than 50 world leaders in Seoul was light on specifics on how to reduce the risk of atomic materials falling into bad hands, loosely calling for all vulnerable material to be secured in four years.

The world's biggest nuclear concerns, those surrounding the weapons programmes of North Korea and Iran, were not on the agenda at the summit, and neither country was invited.

The secretive North has been widely criticised on the sidelines of the meeting, including by main ally China, but host South Korea has explicitly stated the North's weapons of mass destruction programmes were off the table during the summit itself.

The forum is meant to deal only with safeguarding nuclear material and facilities and preventing trafficking.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ignored protocol and urged the international community to strongly demand North Korea exercise self-restraint over next month's planned rocket launch.

"The planned missile launch North Korea recently announced would go against the international community's nuclear non-proliferation effort and violate UN Security Council resolutions," Noda said in an opening speech.

No other major leaders mentioned North Korea's nuclear ambitions or the ballistic missile launch which Pyongyang says will carry a weather satellite into orbit. The West says the launch is a disguised test of a long-range missile designed to reach the American mainland.

Pyongyang threat to world

North Korea said last week it would consider it a "provocation" if its "nuclear issue is placed on the agenda at the Seoul summit" and if any statement was issued against the North for pursuing such a programme.

On Tuesday, it said there was no reason to fire a missile after February's agreement to suspend nuclear and missile tests in return for food aid with the United States.

Obama has said the destitute North could be hit with tighter sanctions if it goes ahead with the rocket launch, but experts doubt China will back another UN Security Council resolution against it.

A row erupted during the main session of the summit when British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hit back at accusations levelled by Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Timermanan that an "extra-regional power" had sent a submarine capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the South Atlantic.

In front of the world's leaders, Clegg fired back his own missive, calling the remarks "unfounded, baseless insinuations".

Tension between Britain and Argentina is rising as the 30th anniversary approaches of Argentina's invasion of the Falklands that was repulsed by a British task force after a 10-week conflict that killed 650 Argentine and 255 British troops.

Obama told leaders the world was safer because of the steps taken to improve nuclear security, but warned that the threat of the wrong people getting hold of the materials to make a crude atomic bomb was real.

"Nuclear terrorism is one of the most urgent and serious threats to global security," he said.

The communique issued at the end of the summit reaffirmed states' commitment to minimising stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, safeguarding nuclear facilities, and preventing illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material.

Talk shop

The long and vaguely worded document, however, offered nothing in the shape of measurable targets and did not single out any state for criticism.

Critics say the summit is no more than a talking-shop, and warn that even though its mandate was extended to include safety after the Fukushima crisis in Japan last year, the next summit in the Netherlands could be the last.

Miles Pomper of the Washington-based Centre for Non-proliferation Studies said the Seoul agenda was "underwhelming to say the least".

"You got a lot of juice out of the process the first time because it was a new thing and Obama had just come off the Prague speech," he said, referring to a 2009 address when he declared it was time to seek "a world without nuclear weapons".

"There were a lot of things already in the pipeline, but now we're losing momentum... we [need to] start being more ambitious."

But heralding the progress made in two years since the first such gathering of world leaders, which he hosted in Washington, Obama said the "security of the world" depended on success.

"It would not take much - just a handful or so of these materials - to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people. And that's not an exaggeration. That's the reality that we face."

Former Cold War adversaries have cooperated to lock down weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, some countries have agreed to remove all such material from their soil and poorer nations have received financial help to secure nuclear facilities.

"We've come a long way in a very short time, and that should encourage us [but] that should not lead us to complacency," said Obama in an appeal for further collaboration.

Noda, representing a country mired in the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, also said that Tokyo has learned from the Fukushima disaster and was reinforcing power supply devices and increasing security measures at its plants.

An earthquake and tsunami last March knocked out external and on-site power supplies at the nuclear power plant, 240km northeast of Tokyo, causing the failure of cooling systems and triggering fuel meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations.

Read more on:    south korea  |  japan  |  north korea nuclear programme
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

SA political parties go to church

Leaders of different political parties have attended a church service at the Tyrannus Apostolic Church in De Deur.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.