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Maturing in diplomacy

《China Daily》 2010-04-12


President Hu Jintao attaches importance to nuclear security and closer cooperation among developing nations

President Hu Jintao is attending a high-profile global safety summit in Washington DC on April 12, when 47 leaders of countries with nuclear capability will gather to discuss nuclear safety, a crucial issue for international security.

With climate change emerging as a major concern for the world, countries are turning their eyes to non-fossil fuels including nuclear energy as substitutes. The research, development and use of civilian-purpose nuclear energy have been on the rise with many developing countries seeking to develop civilian nuclear facilities. As such, the stock of nuclear material including nuclear fuel and spent fuel from civilian and military facilities is gradually accumulating and posing safety challenges. Preventing the nuclear material and facilities from being abused, especially by terrorists, has become an important issue for the international community.

The leaders attending the Washington summit may agree to effective regulations that strengthen cross-border nuclear safety cooperation and inhibit the illegal procurement of nuclear material.

Lessons for the above can be learnt from the past of a few nuclear powers. After the collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union, the theft and smuggling of nuclear material were once rampant. Now the international community should prevent similar situations from occurring.

There are thousands of radiation sources on the Chinese mainland and the number is still growing by 10 percent annually. There are more than 15,000 entities authorized to produce or sell radiation sources. Hence, it is an arduous mission for China to prevent such a large stock of radiation material from being stolen or abused.

Hu's attendance at the nuclear safety summit displays the high importance China attaches to international nuclear safety. On this occasion, he might announce China's new ideas on forestalling nuclear terrorism and enhancing international cooperation.

China, together with the summit's host, may formulate the principle and plans of nuclear safety cooperation between China and the United States.

The move will not only set an example for cooperation on nuclear safety, but also embody the common concerns and actions of the two countries for the security of the human race. China and the US has reportedly communicated on this issue since last year and formulated mature cooperation plans, which might also be announced at the summit.

Despite recent diplomatic rows between China and the US, Hu's attendance at the summit shows a responsible attitude that puts multilateral security above bilateral relations.

While many disputes remain, China and the US still have a large area for cooperation. Minimizing disputes and maximizing cooperation should be the principle for dealing with complicated Sino-American relations.

Hence, the bilateral talks between Hu and Obama will be important and timely. At the summit, China and the US may declare collective efforts to fight terrorism and prevent nuclear proliferation. It will foster mutual trust, boost bilateral ties and stabilize coordination in international trade, finance and regional security.

After the Washington summit, Hu will fly to Brazil to attend, together with the leaders of Brazil, Russia and India, the second summit of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

The BRIC countries, with favorable natural resources and huge growth potential, represent the rising new powers on the global stage. Their voices are growing and being heard by more people.

Other than the ascending importance of the BRIC countries, the issues discussed by their leaders are also expanding. All the four countries face common issues such as economic stability, financial resurgence, energy supply, food security and the environment.

On the global stage, they have to fulfill responsibilities such as promoting international trade, achieving sustainable growth, and molding a new international order. Since the four countries are G20 members, they need to coordinate their stances to facilitate the reform of global financial institutions. The BRIC countries are bound to make international relations more diverse and balanced.

China is playing multiple roles on the global stage. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is a core power for international security. As a fast-developing economic power, China, together with the other three BRIC countries, is entering the central stage of the G20 and international economic institutions.

These roles have given China a particular advantage in international affairs. When seeking domestic development, China is able to not only represent the demands of the developing world, but also consider the interests of the developed countries.

As a power with diverse interests, China attaches great importance to the diplomacy of heads of state. Chinese leaders frequently meet the leaders of both developing and developed countries, and actively attend various bilateral and multilateral summits. All these show that China is maturing in the diplomatic world.