U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday praised the cooperation between the United States and China on nuclear security, citing the recent opening of a center in Beijing for promoting nuclear security and training.[Special coverage]
Obama made the remarks in his opening remarks to the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS).
The 2016 NSS, the last in its current format, gathered leaders and envoys from 52 countries and four international organizations. A communique was released along with five action plans.
In a speech delivered at the NSS opening plenary here Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged countries around the world to increase national input and expand international cooperation so as to further firm up the global nuclear security architecture.
In his remarks, Obama commended the "significant progress" achieved in improving nuclear security around the world since the first NSS in 2010, which, he said, has made it harder for terrorists to acquire nuclear material.
Two other summits were held in Seoul, South Korea in 2012 and The Hague, the Netherlands in 2014. The summits helped make nuclear security a priority at the highest levels and led to concerted international efforts to secure nuclear material stockpiles.
Obama said 102 nations have ratified a key treaty -- the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which is expected to enter into force in the coming weeks.
However, he warned against complacency in the battle against nuclear terrorism, which faces "difficult" challenges.
"So we cannot be complacent. We have to build on our progress," Obama said, urging continued international efforts "to sustain our momentum in the years ahead."
He said that "madmen" from terrorist groups should not be allowed to acquire nuclear material as they would use it to create humanitarian catastrophes.
Obama specifically mentioned that the terror group al-Qaida has long sought nuclear material, while individuals involved in the recent terror attacks in Europe showed interest in getting nuclear material, and the Islamic State terror group has already used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq.