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A matter of nuclear responsibility

  • AUTHORShen Dingli, China Daily
  • Apr 9, 2016

President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening plenary of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington DC, the United States, on April 1, 2016. Provided to China Daily

President Xi Jinping's recent visit to the Czech Republic and participation in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington once again highlighted China's sense of principle and responsibility.

Czech President Milos Zeman was among the Central European leaders who attended China's military parade on Sept 3, 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the war against fascism and Japanese aggression. About 50 heads of state and international organizations graced the occasion, although unfortunately many countries, led by the world's superpower, skipped the event.

To the credit of the Czech Republic, it has also retained its independent foreign policy in spite of its new identity as a NATO member. Besides, Prague acknowledges Beijing's role in defeating the fascists in the Far East.

Prague's insistence on following an independent foreign policy has earned it the respect of Beijing, and Xi's visit to the Czech Republic despite his tight diplomatic schedule shows that.

The two sides' shared values of fighting fascism and the importance they attach to economic cooperation have helped strengthen mutual trust and strategic partnership. In fact, China has been able to deepen ties with many countries over the past decades, because it promotes mutually beneficial partnerships and offers public goods - and a strategic partnership with tangible benefits and shared values lasts long. That's why the deepening China-Czech partnership, based on the principle of mutual respect, bodes well for both sides in the long run.

As for Xi's participation in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit, it reflects another principle dear to China: multilateralism in global security affairs. Not all nuclear stakeholders attended the summit because of their difficult relations with the United States. To some extent, China too has its complaints against the US for recently selling weapons to Taiwan and sending its warships and warplanes close to China's isles in the South China Sea under the pretext of "freedom of navigation operations".

But given the importance of nuclear non-proliferation and preventing terrorists from laying their hands on nuclear weapons or materials, China attended the summit and emphasized multilateral rather than bilateral cooperation with the US to address the issues.

In Washington, Xi firmly supported international partnership to foster a global nuclear security community. In collaboration with the US, China recently opened its State Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security to help improve the technical expertise of nuclear scientists and other experts both at home and abroad. The center is essentially a joint venture of China and the US for the nuclear security of China and the Asia-Pacific.

We have to understand that the Nuclear Security Summit is more of a legal and technical arrangement aimed at thwarting nuclear theft and sabotage. Under the summit's framework, Beijing and Washington are engaged in converting research reactors fueled by highly enriched uranium to those that can run on low enriched uranium. The first such conversion was completed at a plant near Beijing recently. To echo the call of these summits, China will also work with the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency to convert a similar reactor it exported to Ghana.

China not only supports international efforts to ensure nuclear security, but also aspires to play a leading role in global security governance. At the summit, China said it will launch its action plan to make radioactive sources totally secure. China will also strengthen supervision of nuclear energy security arrangements, and help other countries do the same with their arrangements.

Being a major power with a strong sense of principle and responsibility, China is fast emerging as a regional and global security guardian. And it will implement the policy recommendations of the Nuclear Security Summits for its own security as well as to help build a robust regional nuclear security community.

This article was originally published in the China Daily. To view the original article, please click here.