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What South Korea Gains From Hosting the Nuclear Security Summit

by Scott A. Snyder
March 20, 2012

A view of the KORI nuclear power plant in Busan (Courtesy Reuters) A view of the KORI nuclear power plant in Busan (Courtesy Reuters)

The Nuclear Security Summit will bring more national leaders to Seoul than any other international meeting that South Korea has ever hosted.  Just the logistics for such a meeting are daunting, and South Korean hosts have been preparing for months to ensure no surprises (while the timing of North Korea’s  satellite launch announcement last week suggests that Pyongyang has been working for months on “surprises.”)

Johns Hopkins SAIS has offered extensive analysis of what the summit itself aims to accomplish, but Seoul will also want to make its mark in conjunction with the summit in ways that serve South Korean interests.  As part of the Korea program’s issues in U.S.-ROK relations series, Fred McGoldrick identifies the issues of North Korea, nuclear safety, and the negotiation of a U.S.-ROK nuclear security agreement that more adequately reflects South Korea’s needs and interests as three areas where South Korea will try to make progress, in addition to contributions to be announced at the summit regarding the enhanced global protection of nuclear materials.  Fred has also written a longer chapter on U.S.-ROK nonproliferation cooperation for my newly-published edited volume on The U.S.-South Korea Alliance, which evaluates prospects for expanded U.S.-ROK security cooperation following the June 2009 U.S.-ROK Joint Vision Statement.

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