Obama, Xi discuss nuclear collaboration on sidelines of summit

WASHINGTON, March 31 (KUNA) — US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met privately Thursday on the sidelines of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit – which begins official proceedings Friday – and released a joint statement on their collaboration toward nuclear nonproliferation, the White House said.
The two nations agreed “to foster a peaceful and stable international environment by reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and striving for a more inclusive, coordinated, sustainable and robust global nuclear security architecture,” and plan to continue an annual dialogue to strengthen their cooperation in this regard, the statement revealed.
The statements – or “gift baskets” as US officials call them – are not binding agreements, but rather an outcome of discussions based on common interests. They are intended to set the tone for working groups to implement measures toward nuclear security throughout the year.
The US and China lauded the official opening of the nuclear security Center of Excellence (COE) in Beijing earlier this month, which aims “to meet China’s domestic nuclear security training requirements, as well as (serve as) a forum for bilateral and regional best practice exchanges, and a venue for demonstrating advanced technologies related to nuclear security,” the statement said.
Both countries will also “continue to seek opportunities to deepen our joint efforts to investigate nuclear and radioactive material smuggling networks; detect, recover and secure material out of regulatory control; and successfully arrest and prosecute the criminals involved,” according to the joint statement.
As China works on downgrading several of its reactors from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU), both nations will assist in converting reactors in Ghana and Nigeria “as soon as possible.” In remarks to the press before their meeting, Obama said he and Xi are also “committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and full implementation of UN sanctions” against North Korea.
For his part, Xi said the threat of terrorism “is on the rise,” and “as the largest developing country and the largest developed country, and also as the world’s top two economies, China and the United States have growing responsibilities for promoting world peace, stability and prosperity”. (end) ys.hb