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Summit on Nuclear Security Opens in Seoul

March 25, 2012

More than 50 leaders from around the world gather in the South Korean capital Seoul today at the start of a nuclear security summit.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are among those expected to attend the two-day meeting to discuss how best to stop nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists.

Obama announced his vision to reduce the global threat from nuclear weapons in a speech in the Czech capital Prague in 2009. That was followed a year later with the first nuclear security summit in Washington.

On the sidelines of the Seoul meeting, the controversial nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea are expected to be discussed.

Obama has warned Pyongyang will achieve nothing through "threat" or "provocation" as North Korea plans to launch a satellite into orbit with a long-range rocket next month.

"They need to understand that bad behavior will not be rewarded. There had been a pattern for decades in which North Korea thought that if they acted provocatively then somehow they would be bribed into ceasing and desisting acting provocatively," Obama said shorting after arriving in South Korea.

Obama said he would urge China to stop rewarding North Korea's "bad behavior" when he meets Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the summit today.

Seoul and Washington charge the launch is a disguised test of a ballistic missile. North Korea says it simply wants to put a satellite into orbit.

Obama has warned the planned launch could scuttle an agreement to send much needed U.S. food aid to North Korea.

In February, North Korea agree to halt long-range missile launches in exchange for the food aid.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency says the main body of the rocket has been moved to a launch site on North Korea's west coast.

The April launch is due to coincide with big celebrations marking the 100 anniversary of the birth of the state's founder, Kim Il-sung.

Earlier, Obama visited a U.S. base on the edge of the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea.

It was his first visit there, in what analysts say underscored the strength of the alliance between Washington and Seoul.

Some 30,000 U.S. troops are deployed in South Korea.

Based on Reuters, AP and AFP reporting

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/seoul_nuclear_security_summit/24527044.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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