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China, US team up on nuclear security

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington (China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-03-18 10:22

China and the United States are strengthening nuclear security cooperation ahead of the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington later this month.

Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz met in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Wednesday to exchange views on deepening cooperation in nuclear security, energy and climate change.

Zhang, also a member of the Politburo standing committee, hopes that both sides will increase practical cooperation in civilian nuclear energy, power grid construction, clean energy and low-carbon cities.

His message was echoed by Moniz, who praised the progress made by the two countries in their cooperation on climate change, energy, nuclear security and other fields, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday morning, Thomas Countryman, assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, said Moniz is leading a US delegation to the opening of China's Nuclear Security Center of Excellence (COE) on Friday.

The center, being established based on a bilateral agreement, will serve as an important domestic nuclear security training resource for China's growing nuclear complex, Countryman told lawmakers in a hearing reviewing the Obama administration's nuclear agenda.

"Beyond China, in concert with other COEs in the region, it will provide a forum to train relevant personnel across Asia in nuclear-security best practices," he said.

To promote ongoing cooperation on nuclear security, the US and China have initiated an annual bilateral Nuclear Security Dialogue, the first of which was held in February, according to Countryman.

Moniz's trip to China came less than two weeks before the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington. Leaders from more than 50 countries and four international organizations, including President Xi Jinping, are expected to attend the summit on March 31 and April 1.

Vladimir Putin, president of major world nuclear power Russia, will not participate in the summit, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced in January. The past three Nuclear Security Summits were held respectively in Washington in 2010, Seoul in 2012 and in The Hague in 2014.

Science magazine on Thursday quoted Moniz as saying in Beijing that the US and China share an interest in preventing global smuggling of nuclear materials and have taken tangible steps to work together to fight the threat.

"My discussions up till now have certainly reinforced the importance of these relationships and the shared interest in extending them going forward," Moniz said.

The magazine described the new COE near Beijing as a jointly funded collection of labs, test sites and training facilities partly based on US installations.

It said the new center seeks to detect the smuggling of materials that can either be used in nuclear weapons or dirty bombs. "Controlling these materials, whether going out or coming in, is clearly important," Moniz was quoted as saying.


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