The situation described above is the scene from the last week of March, due to the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
The summit is the second Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), following the first one in Washington. Three years ago, President Barack Obama proposed to hold the NSS in 2010 in his Prague speech, and officially announced his plans to host the summit in July 2009.
The Seoul Summit was held since there had been a need to raise the importance of nuclear security at the summit level, and seek cooperation, as the threat of nuclear terrorism cannot be addressed by a single nation.
Then, did the summit held in Seoul last month have any special meaning to us?
The answer to this question may differ from individual to individual. However, it is quite clear that the Seoul NSS enhanced Korea’s status within the international society.
March 26 to 27 of this year will be recorded as a historic moment in Korean history, in that Korea was the first host nation for the summit in Asia. Having the heads of each state visiting Korea was also the largest scale ever. By holding huge and important international summits within three years including the G20 and NSS, Korea must have resounded through the world.
For this summit, the Korean government started recruiting and training more than 700 staffs from the end of the last year, most of whom are mainly university students. In the case of the staffs, the Seoul summit might be imprinted in their minds since they contributed in making the successful hosting of the summit.
While some of them were posted inside the COEX, the venue for the summit to help delegates and the press carry out their duties well, others were stationed at nearby subway stations to guide the ways for foreign correspondents. Most of the volunteers seemed to be interested in international summits and issues, and they might have applied, wanting to see the historical moment with their own eyes.
Unfortunately, many university students in Korea do not seem to know exactly what the international summit held in the capital of our nation is about. Also many of them might not be interested in those issues related to nuclear materials, as resorting to all kinds of excuses such as job-finding and preparing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
The necessity of both the safe use of nuclear materials and the nuclear security should not be underestimated any more, and relevant issues also should not be treated as others’ affairs.
The whole world was shocked when the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant exploded after the calamitous earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The nuclear accident in Fukushima in last March alerted people in the world regarding the nuclear security.
Like Japan, Korea has its own nuclear power plants and is rather dependent on nuclear energy. Also Korean Peninsula in the Pacific Rim is exposed to earthquakes and aftershocks. Considering that Korea has many things in common with Japan, it is the right time for us to take interests in the nuclear-related issues more.
The misuse and abuse of nuclear materials by terrorists keep threatening the world and we are no exception. There are high chances of children and numbers of innocent people to be killed in global incidents of terrorism, at this very moment. Korean people, from youth to adults, must not ignore the issues of nuclear security, and should pay more attention to it.