The fourth and last Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), which concluded over the weekend in Washington, called to the attention the unfinished cause of strengthening the global architecture of nuclear security.
The Nuclear Security Center of Excellence (COE), jointly built by China and the United States in Beijing, has been an important result of cooperation between China and the United States in this regard.
The COE, inaugurated on March 18, is the largest, most advanced and most comprehensively equipped facility for nuclear security exchanges and training in the Asia-Pacific region capable of training 2,000 people a year.
The center, which opened about a month after Beijing and Washington conducted their first nuclear security dialogue, marks the latest major achievement the two sides have scored not only in the lead-up to the NSS, but also in their overall nuclear security cooperation, an area that has become a new bright spot in bilateral engagement and an illustrative footnote to the new type of major-country relations between China and the United States..
Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday during the NSS in Washington that his country will build a network for capacity building on nuclear security, by using the existing platforms, such as the COE, to carry out training of nuclear security professionals, exercises and exchanges regarding nuclear security technologies.
JOIN HANDS TO ENHANCE NUCLEAR SECURITY
In response to the rising threat of nuclear terrorism, U.S. President Barack Obama hosted the first NSS in April 2010 in Washington, during which then Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that his country was considering establishing a COE on nuclear security. In the following January, Beijing and Washington inked an agreement on jointly building the facility in China.
Located in Fangshan District in southwest Beijing and inaugurated three years after the turning of the first shovel of dirt, the COE is the largest nuclear program to receive direct funding from both the Chinese and U.S. governments, and boasts state-of-the-art research and training installations.
The center is a significant achievement in China-U.S. nuclear security cooperation, said Wang Yiren, deputy director of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), adding that the two countries have also cooperated in other nuclear security areas such as low-enriched reactors, security of radioactive sources, and radiation detection at customs.
Page Stoutland, vice president of the Scientific and Technical Affairs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, commented that China is increasingly seen as a responsible player in the global nuclear system.
Noting that China participates in the nuclear summits, engages with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and has created the Center of Excellence, he said, "All of these are very good signs in terms of China's standing in the nuclear security community."
"I know there is optimism on both sides that the center will provide a place where there can be greater cooperation between the U.S. and China as well as others," he added.
CONTINUE COOPERATION FOR COMMON INTERESTS
During Xi's first state visit to the United States last September, the CAEA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) signed a statement of intent on further strengthening bilateral nuclear security cooperation, which injected new momentum into the two countries' joint efforts in the area.
According to "China's Nuclear Emergency Preparedness," a white paper published in January, in line with an agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the CAEA and the DoE have conducted a number of training activities together, including a nuclear emergency medical rescue training program and a nuclear emergency consequence evaluation workshop.
The smooth cooperation on nuclear security comes despite many differences between China and the United States in other areas, pointed out Yang Xiyu, a research fellow with the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).
"I believe the two sides will broaden and deepen cooperation in the field of nuclear security, because they have common concerns and are facing common challenges," he said.
Obama said the global efforts to secure the world's nuclear materials from wrong hands was "by no means finished" upon the close of the last nuclear security summit on Friday.
He said world leaders had made "significant, meaningful progress" to prevent nuclear materials being reached by terrorists, but there was still a large amount of nuclear and radioactive materials that must be secured.
Xi 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 a speech delivered at the opening of the NSS on the same day.