Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Gets Underway

The 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Monday in COEX, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu in southeastern Seoul. It brings together 58 national leaders and heads of international organizations including U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

At the end of the Summit on Tuesday, the leaders will adopt a communiqué calling for a worldwide reduction of fissile materials to decrease the possibility of nuclear terrorism.

President Lee Mung-bak will meet separately with 22 heads of state and two leaders of international organizations until Thursday, slightly fewer than originally planned as leaders from the Netherlands, Romania, and Nigeria were unable to come due to urgent issues at home. However, that is still a record for the greatest number of summits by a Korean president during a single international conference.

Starting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday, Lee has also already met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. North Korea’s plan to launch a rocket was discussed in all meetings.

Ban said North Korea's plan violates a resolution by the UN Security Council and is "a serious provocation that would disturb the peace of the international community." Prime ministers from three countries also called for cancellation of North Korea's plan.

The Nuclear Security Summit will see over 200 bilateral and multilateral meetings in Seoul. Obama and Hu meet Monday afternoon to discuss global matters including the Korean Peninsula. Among South Korea's regional neighbors, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will be the only person who will not meet separately with Lee, reportedly because he has a busy schedule in the Diet at home.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 26, 2012 11:03 KST