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The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit: How Much of a Success?
Region: Asia
Theme: Energy
Location: Korea, South
Published May 23, 2012
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The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit held in March 2012 was a watershed event for South Korea. It marked by far the largest gathering of world leaders on South Korean soil. The summit also further cemented the already remarkably close ties between
the current U.S. and ROK governments, and offered a showcase for the country’s burgeoning and increasingly export-oriented
nuclear industry.
The summit’s ultimate impact is unclear, however. Despite the summit’s incremental steps forward on nuclear security, it seems clear that participants will fall far short of their ultimate goal of securing all vulnerable fissile materials when a four year
push initiated by the United States ends next year. That has led the United States and South Korea to chart out different paths for the future of the summit process, with Seoul advocating a more ambitious course and Washington a more conservative one. And while the summit polished South Korea’s global nuclear reputation, it remains to be seen how much the effort will further
Seoul’s goals to win new contracts overseas and obtain concessions in bilateral nuclear negotiations with the United States.

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