Nuclear summit stares at North Korea’s threat

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    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak poses for a photo with President Barack Obama during a welcome ceremony for the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center, in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    BOSTON — This week US President Barack Obama and 49 other world leaders will meet in South Korea to try to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.

    But the Nuclear Security Summit which starts Monday has already been overshadowed by North Korea and its plans to launch a long-range missile in mid-April. North Korea says the missile is to send a satellite into space, but others warn that the Pyongyang regime is testing how far it could send a nuclear weapon.

    Obama warned North Korea Sunday that it risks further sanctions and isolation if it goes ahead with its missile plan.

    Read related: Q&A: Surprise and skepticism over US-NKorea deal

    The summit is to consider ways to decrease the threat that nuclear materials could be acquired by terrorist groups. The agenda includes measures to control the circulation of a wide variety of radiological materials which could be used to make dirty bombs that spread radioactive contamination.

    Despite the dramatic setting for the summit, next door to North Korea’s threat, the world leaders are unlikely to reach agreement on converting all nuclear power stations so that they run on low-enriched fuel, according to experts. Nor is agreement expected on common standards for nuclear security because many nations find the measures restrict their national rights.


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