Seoul Nuclear Security Summit 2012

Seoul Nuclear Security Summit 2012 

March 26 ~ 27, 2012

Seoul, Republic of Korea

The 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul in March 2012, will be the largest summit in the security field that discusses international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups, with participation from more than 50 heads of state and international organizations. The main issues to be discussed at the Summit will be as follows.

  •  Cooperative measures to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism
  •  Protection of nuclear materials and related facilities
  •  Prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear materials

Participants (source: 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit page)
Heads of 53 states which participated in the 1st Washington Nuclear Security Summit. (Republic of Korea, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam).

Heads of international organizations which participated in the Washington Summit (the UN, IAEA, and EU).

INTERPOL was added to the group of participants as agreed upon between the participating countries and international organizations.

For more information: http://www.thenuclearsecuritysummit.org/eng_main/main.jsp

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107 thoughts on “Seoul Nuclear Security Summit 2012

  1. WH

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey.

    4:00 AM
    4:30 AM
    President Obama attends a bilateral meeting with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea.

    5:00 AM
    5:35 AM
    President Obama and President Lee hold a joint news conference.

    6:00 AM
    6:10 AM
    President Obama attends a working dinner with President Lee.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    9:30 PM
    President Obama Speaks on Continued Efforts to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons
    Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea

    10:00 PM

    10:30 PM
    President Obama attends a bilateral meeting with President Medvedev of Russia in Seoul. (11:30 a.m. KST)

  2. 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit

    March 26 ~ 27, 2012
    Seoul, Republic of Korea

    The Nuclear Security Summit, which was initiated under the goal of freeing the world of nuclear terrorism, will be held again in Seoul on March 26-27 2012, following the 2012 summit held in Washington, D.C.

    Over 55 heads of state and leaders of 4 international organizations including the Un and the IAEA will join the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit to discuss ways to prevent nuclear terrorism and to secure nuclear materials.

    For the entire article: http://www.seoulnis.org/eng/sub/sub0101.asp

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Nuclear_Security_Summitbook

    • Nuclear Security Summit Op-Ed

      March 24, 2012 – Two years ago in Washington, 50 world leaders gathered for the historic first Nuclear Security Summit, and pledged concrete action to lock down nuclear material, disrupt nuclear trafficking, and prevent nuclear terrorism.As the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit nears, the world will return its focus to nuclear security and bring this important issue back to the top of the political agenda.In Seoul, world leaders will highlight progress and make new pledges for action…

      Basic Objectives
      The possibility of nuclear terrorism became a real threat after 9/11, which increased the importance of strengthening nuclear security to prevent nuclear materials from being misused by terrorist groups. There is a need to recognize 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.

      Background President Obama stated in his 2009 Prague speech that nuclear terrorism is a serious threat to international security, and expressed his will to lead global efforts to protect nuclear materials as part of his plan to realize his vision of a “world free of nuclear weapons.” More

      Source: 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit

    • VISIT OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT 2012

      Nuclear Security Summit Op-Ed

      Gary Samore – seoul.usembassy

      White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism

      Two years ago in Washington, 50 world leaders gathered for the historic first Nuclear Security Summit, and pledged concrete action to lock down nuclear material, disrupt nuclear trafficking, and prevent nuclear terrorism. As the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit nears, the world will return its focus to nuclear security and bring this important issue back to the top of the political agenda. In Seoul, world leaders will highlight progress and make new pledges for action. This political commitment at the highest levels renews the momentum of Washington, and charts a course for further achievement in the coming years.

      There is no greater threat of mass killing than the prospect of a nuclear weapon – or nuclear materials – falling into the hands of terrorists or criminals. That is why President Obama has made it a top priority to secure nuclear materials from terrorist organizations, traffickers, or states that fail to meet their international obligations. Even though some headlines may focus on other nuclear challenges, our attention to nuclear security has not wavered. Countries participating in the Summit have remained focused, and have taken steps that improve nuclear security in concrete, if not always obvious, ways. Over the next week, during the Summit, and after the Summit you will hear about these actions. It is the action that counts. Political commitments are one thing, but following through on those commitments is another.

      Make no mistake about it – political commitments are difficult too. Nuclear issues are a central function of national security calculations for many nations and at the same time are critical to energy objectives. Threads of debate on nuclear weapons, disarmament, peaceful nuclear energy, and unfettered access to peaceful nuclear technology tie together in ways that challenge even close allies. With more countries, these threads become even more intertwined, but fifty world leaders at the Washington Summit met that challenge. We have woven these threads together and created a sturdy security blanket.

      For the entire article: http://seoul.usembassy.gov/p_rok_032412.html

  3. Obama lands in South Korea

    3/24/12 5:43 PM EDT

    Air Force One landed in Osan Air Base in South Korea at 5:28 p.m. ET Saturday, after a nine-hour flight from Alaska. President Obama was greeted on the tarmac by the U.S. ambassador to Korea, Sung Kim, and Korean dignitaries.

    ————-

    Raw Video: Obama Begins Visit to South Korea

    Published on Mar 24, 2012 by AssociatedPress

    President Barack Obama has begun a visit to South Korea that aims to mount pressure on an isolated North Korea and intensify international efforts to keep nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists. (March 24)

    • Obama to visit South Korea

      3/14/12 By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

      Though it’s been widely reported in the Korean press that President Obama is headed to Seoul later this month, it wasn’t until the White House offered a readout of a call to his counterpart there that the White House put it on the record.

      Obama called South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday to mark the start of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement at midnight Thursday, the White House said, and he also “said he is looking forward to his upcoming March 25-27 trip to Korea and anticipates a successful Nuclear Security Summit.”

      Obama hosted the first-ever Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010.

      Korean reports have indicated that Obama is expected to visit the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, though White House press secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t confirm it. A visit to the site “would be reflective of the president’s commitment to both security on the Korean peninsula and the need for North Korea to live up to its international obligations, give up its nuclear program, and return to the community of nations,” Carney told reporters on Tuesday.

      Carney mentioned the summit in those remarks, but didn’t outright confirm that the president was planning to attend.

      The trade agreement, abbreviated as KORUS, begins at midnight on March 15 in both countries. It cleared Congress last year just before Lee visited for a state visit that included a dinner like Wednesday’s.

      In a readout, the White House said Obama “noted that the agreement will begin boosting exports and creating jobs and growth immediately.” He thanked Lee for “Korea’s close cooperation in getting the agreement implemented, and noted this is a strong example of the accomplishments achieved in the U.S.-Korea partnership. The two countries have made great strides in modernizing our alliance to promote security in the region and in promoting economic growth and trade in the Asia-Pacific.”

    • Obama confronts nuke threat on N. Korea front line

      3/24/12 By ANNE GEARAN and BEN FELLER | Associated Press – 1 hr 46 mins ago

      SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama is opening his pitch for faster work to lock down nuclear material that could be used by terrorists with an up-close look at the nuclear front lines along the heavily militarized border with volatile North Korea.

      Obama arrived in Seoul on Sunday morning, local time, for three days of diplomacy. In the midst of an election year focused on economic concerns at home, Obama has designed a rare Asia visit that features time in just one country. He’ll use much of the time to keep pressure on North Korea to back off a planned rocket launch and return to disarmament talks.

      The goal of the large gathering of world leaders is to secure nuclear material and prevent it from being smuggled to states or groups intent on mass destruction. Progress has been uneven since the ambitious goal of lockdown by 2014 was first set out by Obama at a similar session in Washington in 2010. No breakthroughs are expected now.

      Right across the border but not participating: nuclear North Korea, labeled by the White House as “the odd man out.” It is brinksmanship with North Korea and Iran, another nation not invited to the summit, that has dominated much of the nuclear debate and that will cast an unquestionable shadow over talks in Seoul.

      Obama has called nuclear terrorism the gravest threat the United States and the world may face. North Korea is a prime suspect in the proliferation of some nuclear know-how, along with missiles that could be used to deliver weapons of mass destruction. Iran is suspected in the arming of terrorists with non-nuclear weaponry, and the U.S. and other nations suspect Iran’s nuclear energy program could be converted to build a bomb.

      Syria, Pakistan and other global trouble spots are also on the agenda for separate meetings with global leaders attending a progress-check summit of more than 50 nations on Obama’s goal of locking down nuclear material around the world by 2014.
      Obama’s first business: a visit to the volatile Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, a show of strength amid confusion and disappointment over the state of diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North.

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-confronts-nuke-threat-n-korea-front-line-223518377.html

    • Ask President Obama

      Colleen Curtis March 26, 2012 09:32 AM EDT

      The U.S. Embassy in Seoul held a competition inviting South Koreans to submit questions via social media for President Obama. The top three most interesting questions received written responses from President Obama – those questions, and the President’s answers, are below.

      * Yoo-il Lee, CEO of a Korean trade company: WHAT IS KOREA TO YOU?

      * Bo-yeon Suh, University Student asks AMONGST ALL THE PUBLIC SPEECHES YOU’VE DELIVERED, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPEECH?

      * Nam-soo Han, North Korean refugee asks: QUESTION FROM NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE – YOUR STANCE ON NK HUMAN RIGHTS

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/03/26/ask-president-obama

  4. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    3/23/12 By LEIGH MUNSIL – POLITICO44

    (Democratic excerpts only)

    The White House is in full campaign mode Sunday, with senior adviser David Plouffe hitting four of the five major network television talk shows.

    Plouffe, who managed President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, stops by “Fox News Sunday,” CNN’s “State of the Union,” ABC’s “This Week” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”…

    CBS has as well Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). And CNN also interviews Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who’ll surely be asked about the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watchman, which has drawn national scrutiny – and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

    Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital” hosts former Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, who also sits in on NBC’s political roundtable discussion along with NAACP President Ben Jealous.

    And C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” has Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, interviewed by Maya Jackson-Randall of Dow Jones Newswires and Jim Puzzanghera of the Los Angeles Times.

    For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74415.html

  5. National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports

    March 25-30, 2012

    Celebrating its 26th year, the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic has been a leader in helping Veterans with disabilities rehabilitate by introducing them to adaptive winter sports on the majestic Colorado Rockies in Snowmass, Colorado.

    All of the participants are Veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological conditions and other disabilities. This includes Veterans with an inpatient or outpatient status with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and active duty military servicemen and women.

    To learn more: http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/wsc/index.asp

  6. Nuclear security is a serious issue. Glad there’s a grownup in the Oval Office!

  7. US Force Korea

    10:30 PM EDT
    President Obama visits the demilitarized zone and meets with American troops serving on the Korean Peninsula.

    • March 25, 2012

      Remarks by the President During Meet and Greet with Troops

      Camp Bonifas

      11:26 A.M. KST

      THE PRESIDENT: It’s good to see you. (Applause.) Thank you.

      Well, listen, I’m not going to give a long speech, because I just want to make sure that I get a chance to shake everybody’s hands. I just want to point out that I was just presented this spiffy jacket. And so whoever arranged to make sure that it fit — I’m sure it wasn’t the General — I appreciate it. (Laughter.)

      But as I told General Thurman and your commander here, you guys are the — at freedom’s frontier. When you think about the transformation that has taken place in South Korea during my lifetime, it is directly attributable to this long line of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen who were willing to create the space and the opportunity for freedom and prosperity. And the contrast between South Korea and North Korea could not be clearer, could not be starker, both in terms of freedom but also in terms of prosperity.

      And the reason that the South is doing so well is obviously attributable to the incredible resilience of their people and their incredible talents and hard work, but it also has to do with you guys. And so my main message is the same, obviously, to every base that I go to all across — all around the world, which is, I could not be prouder of what you’re doing. Everybody back home could not be prouder of what you guys do each and every day — the dedication, the professionalism that you show.

      But there’s something about this spot in particular, where there’s such a clear line and there’s such an obvious impact that you have for the good each and every day that should make all of you proud.

      And I’ll just share with you real briefly — last time I was here, I was having lunch with the President of South Korea, President Lee. And he talked about how he was a small child when the Korean War was taking place and its aftermath, and the brutal poverty, the fact that they had nothing. And he went on to be a auto executive and ultimately the President of his country, and watch it grow. And he specifically said to me — and this was a private moment; he didn’t say this in front of the press, so you knew he meant it — he said, the only reason that was able to happen — and I still think back to all those American soldiers and the sacrifices that they made.

      That’s the legacy you’re carrying on here. So we’re grateful to you. We’re proud of you. And I hope that all your family back home knows how proud your Commander-in-Chief is of you.

      And the only other thing I’ll say is, for those of you guys who missed the ball games — (laughter) — Florida got beat by Louisville, and Ohio State just beat Syracuse. So I don’t know how your brackets are doing. (Laughter and applause.)

      But anyway, thank you, God bless you, and let me just shake some hands and take some pictures. All right. (Applause.)

      END
      11:29 A.M. KST

    • Obama Praises U.S. Troops’ Legacy in South Korea

      March 25, 2012 By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. – American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – Visiting with U.S. troops stationed in South Korea near the demilitarized zone yesterday, President Barack Obama lauded their historic security role that assisted South Korea as it transformed itself into a democratic and prosperous nation in the years following the Korean War.

      “When you think about the transformation that has taken place in South Korea during my lifetime, it is directly attributable to this long line of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines [and] coast guardsmen who were willing to create the space and the opportunity for freedom and prosperity,” said Obama, who’s in South Korea to attend a Nuclear Security Summit in the capital city of Seoul.

      At Camp Bonifas, located near the demilitarized zone that has divided North and South Korea since the Korean War armistice was signed in 1953, Obama told the troops they’re serving on “freedom’s frontier.” About 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea today.

      “And the contrast between South Korea and North Korea could not be clearer, could not be starker, both in terms of freedom, but also in terms of prosperity,” Obama said.

      The president attributed South Korea’s success to the “incredible” resilience, talents and hard work of their people.

      “But it also has to do with you guys,” Obama told troops. “And so my main message is the same, obviously, to every base that I go to … all around the world, which is, I could not be prouder of what you’re doing. Everybody back home could not be prouder of what you guys do each and every day — the dedication, the professionalism that you show.

      “But there’s something about this spot in particular,” he continued, “where there’s such a clear line and there’s such an obvious impact that you have for the good each and every day that should make all of you proud.”

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=67675

  8. Next Up…

    4:15 AM EDT
    President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey.

    • March 25, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey after Bilateral Meeting

      Grand Hyatt Hotel

      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      4:49 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: I just want to say how much I appreciate the opportunity to once again meet with my friend and colleague, Prime Minister Erdogan. I think it’s fair to say that over the last several years, the relationship between Turkey and the United States has continued to grow across every dimension. And I find Prime Minister Erdogan to be an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues.

      We devoted a lot of this meeting to the issue of Syria, where the United States and Turkey have worked with a broad-based coalition, an international coalition of countries in the region, as well as around the world, who deeply object to the killings that have been taking place in Syria and are absolutely committed to trying to help those innocent civilians who are being killed by the Assad regime. And we are very much in agreement that there should be a process whereby a transition to a representative and legitimate government in Syria takes place.

      So I expressed my thanks for Turkey hosting the next “Friends of Syria” meeting. And we worked on a common agenda in terms of how we can support both humanitarian efforts, political efforts, the efforts of Kofi Annan to bring about much needed change inside of Syria. And not only Prime Minister Erdogan but his entire team has shown outstanding leadership on this critical issue.

      We also had the opportunity to discuss the issue of Iran and its nuclear program. I expressed to the Prime Minister once again that I believe there is a window of time to resolve this question diplomatically, but that window is closing. And it’s absolutely critical for us to be able to move forward in an effective way, in a serious way, in concert based on negotiations through the P5-plus-1 and other channels, to ensure that Iran abides by its international obligations, which also then assures them the right to engage in peaceful nuclear power. I very much appreciate the Prime Minister’s insights obviously as a neighbor of Iran and as someone who is interested in seeing this issue resolved in a peaceful fashion.

      Beyond those two specific issues, we had a wide-ranging conversation about our continued support of counterterrorism efforts, including the efforts that are taking place in Turkey with respect to the PKK. We are very supportive of making sure that the kinds of terrorist attacks that we’ve seen in the past are not occurring. I congratulated the Prime Minister on the efforts that he’s made within Turkey to protect religious minorities. I am pleased to hear of his decision to reopen the Halki Seminary.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/25/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-erdogan-turkey-after-bilatera

  9. Next Up…

    4:30 AM EDT
    President Obama attends a bilateral meeting with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea.

    • Pres Obama & Pres Lee Myung-bak

      President Obama and President Lee Myung-bak at the Seoul Security Nuclear Summit in Seoul, Korea 3/25/12

    • March 25, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama and President Lee Myung-bak in Joint Press Conference

      Blue House

      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      ,
      6:44 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT LEE: (As interpreted.) I apologize for running a little late, ladies and gentlemen.

      Mr. President, distinguished members of the press, it’s good to see my good friend again. The last time we met was four months ago. Welcome to Korea, Mr. President.

      And I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for taking time to visit the DMZ early this morning, soon after your arrival in Seoul. Mr. President, I’m sure it was a chance to witness firsthand the reality of division that has been a part of Korea for such a long time. And I gather you had a good time meeting with the members of the armed forces from both Korea and the United States. And thank you for the encouragement that you gave these men and women in uniform.

      Today, ladies and gentlemen, we had a very useful and constructive discussion on a wide array of issues from North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and including other security issues, and also how to promote bilateral trade between our two countries, and of course, other topics of mutual interest.

      And we talked about the security situation in the region and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and agreed to continue working closely together in implementing our North Korea policy. Both countries agreed that North Korea’s announcement to test-fire its long-range missile is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, not to mention the latest agreement between the U.S. and North Korea. Therefore President Obama and I both agreed that North Korea must immediately repeal its decision and abide by its international obligations.

      President Obama and I agreed that we will continue to enhance and strengthen our combined defense capabilities, and at the same time, firmly respond to any threats or provocations from the North. If North Korea gives up its pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile development, and instead chooses a path towards peace and cooperation, our two countries will work together, along with the international community, to help improve the lives of the people in North Korea and provide necessary assistance that will help North Korea open up a new era.

      And we reaffirmed the value and importance of our enduring alliance and discussed a future vision of our partnership. Following the adoption of the future vision of the alliance, which was adopted in June 2009, our alliance is evolving into a truly global partnership where we are working shoulder to shoulder to resolve global challenges.

      Furthermore, we reviewed the progress being made in our alliance, a chance to transfer of OPCON two-plus-two security consultations, and agree that we will strengthen our deterrence capabilities through enhanced policy coordination, and strive towards a future-oriented alliance.

      Ladies and gentlemen, we will also work together so that the KORUS FTA that came into effect last March 15th will fulfill its goal, that is creating jobs for our workers, expand trade and investments, and overall improve the lives of our peoples. And accordingly, in order to ensure the faithful implementation of the KORUS FTA, we will establish a ministerial-level joint committee, as previously agreed, and check upon the progress.

      President Obama and I also exchanged views on the state of the global economy and shared our concern regarding the uncertainties that still remain. In particular, we share the concern that rising oil prices is an obstacle to speedy recovery of the global economy, and agree that international cooperation needed to be further strengthened to bring about stability in the world oil market.

      And of course we also talked about regional issues — issues in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and other issues, including Iran, and how we can strengthen international cooperation to bring about a resolution to these issues.

      I welcome President Obama once again on his visit.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/25/remarks-president-obama-and-president-lee-myung-bak-joint-press-conferen

  10. State of the Union: Plouffe on healthcare, and the 2012 race

    Published on Mar 25, 2012 by CNN

    David Plouffe Senior White House Adviser weighs in on healthcare, the 2012 elections, and the Trayvon Martin investigation.

  11. Obama reelection campaign urges supporters to say ‘I’m for Obamacare’

    3/23/12 By Daniel Strauss – TheHill

    President Obama’s reelection campaign is urging voters to voice their support for the administration’s healthcare reform law.

    In an email sent out to supporters on Friday, members of the campaign (top strategist David Axelrod, campaign manager Jim Messina) tout the administration’s legislation.

    “Obamacare means never having to worry about getting sick and running up against a lifetime cap on insurance coverage,” Axelrod writes in one email. “It gives parents the comfort of knowing their kids can stay on their insurance until they’re 26, and that a “pre-existing condition” like an ear infection will never compromise their child’s coverage.”

    The email comes on the two-year anniversary of the passage of the law and just ahead of Supreme Court oral arguments on a case challenging the law’s constitutionality.

    The email directs readers to a part of the Obama reelection campaign’s website where supporters can “stand with” Axelrod and the campaign and say “Hell yeah, I’m for Obamacare.” The website asks for the reader’s email address and zipcode.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/217893-obama-reelection-campaign-urges-supporters-to-say-im-for-obamacare

    I Like ObamaCare

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama at Hankuk University

      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      10:32 A.M. KST

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Please, thank you very much.

      To President Park, faculty, staff and students, thank you so much for this very warm welcome. It is a great honor to be here at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. (Applause.) I want to thank Dr. Park for, a few moments ago, making me an honorary alumni of the university. (Applause.)

      I know that this school has one of the world’s finest foreign language programs — which means that your English is much better than my Korean. (Laughter.) All I can say is, kamsa hamnida. (Applause.)

      Now, this is my third visit to the Republic of Korea as President. I’ve now been to Seoul more times than any other capital — except for Washington, D.C., of course. This reflects the extraordinary bonds between our two countries and our commitment to each other. I’m pleased that we’re joined by so many leaders here today, Koreans and Americans, who help keep us free and strong and prosperous every day. That includes our first Korean-American ambassador to the Republic of Korea — Ambassador Sung Kim. (Applause.)

      I’ve seen the deep connections between our peoples in my own life — among friends, colleagues. I’ve seen it so many patriotic Korean Americans, including a man born in this city of Seoul, who came to America and has dedicated his life to lifting up the poor and sick of the world. And last week I was proud to nominate him to lead the World Bank — Dr. Jim Yong Kim. (Applause.)

      I’ve also seen the bonds in our men and women in uniform, like the American and Korean troops I visited yesterday along the DMZ — Freedom’s Frontier. And we salute their service and are very grateful for them. We honor all those who have given their lives in our defense, including the 46 brave souls who perished aboard the Cheonan two years ago today. And in their memory we reaffirm the enduring promise at the core of our alliance — we stand together, and the commitment of the United States to the defense and the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver. (Applause.)

      Most of all, I see the strength of our alliance in all of you. For decades, this school has produced leaders — public servants, diplomats, businesspeople — who’ve helped propel the modern miracle that is Korea– transforming it from crushing poverty to one of the world’s most dynamic economies; from authoritarianism to a thriving democracy; from a country focused inward to a leader for security and prosperity not only in this region but also around the world — a truly “Global Korea.”

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/remarks-president-obama-hankuk-university

      • World Bank Taps Obama Nominee To Be Its President

        4/16/12 by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 1 hour ago

        Jim Yong Kim, an American who is president of Dartmouth College, has been chosen to be the next president of the World Bank. His selection Monday extends the U.S. hold on the top job at the 187-nation development agency.

        Kim, a surprise nominee of President Obama, was selected in a vote by the World Bank’s 25-member executive board. He’ll succeed Robert Zoellick, who’s stepping down after a five year term.

        Developing nations waged an unsuccessful challenge to Kim, 52, a physician and pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world.

        Kim’s selection marks a break from previous World Bank leaders who were typically political, legal or economic figures.

        The World Bank raises money from its member nations and borrows from investors to provide low-cost loans to developing countries.

        Developing countries had put forward two candidates for the post Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.

        Both had argued that it was time to break the hold the United States has had on the World Bank job and provide a greater voice for developing nations.

        Kim will begin a five-year term in July. Born in South Korea, Kim is an American who moved to the United States with his family at age 5. His selection extends the tradition of Americans leading the World Bank, dating to the institution’s founding in 1944.

        Kim was in Lima, Peru, on Monday — the latest stop in a global tour that has taken him to Africa, Asia and Latin America to try to build support among developing countries.

        He and the other candidates were interviewed by the World Bank’s board last week. In his statement to the board, Kim said he had worked throughout his career for “reform and change” and would continue those efforts at the World Bank.

        Obama’s announcement March 23 that Kim would be the U.S. nominee for the World Bank post came as a surprise. His name had not been mentioned as a possible candidate.

        For the entire article: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/16/150730453/world-bank-taps-obama-nominee-to-be-its-president?ft=1&f=1006

  12. 10:30 PM EDT
    President Obama attends a bilateral meeting with President Medvedev of Russia in Seoul. (11:30 a.m. KST)

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia After Bilateral Meeting

      Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      1:01 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: (As interpreted.) So I would like to start by saying, once again, that together with my friend and colleague Barack Obama, we had a very substantial discussion of different issues of our agenda of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Russia.

      I told Barack that despite the fact that reset that has been largely debated over the past three years get different assessments, I still believe that it was an extremely useful exercise, and we probably enjoyed the best level of relations between the United States and Russia during those three years than ever during the previous decades. And we managed to achieve a lot in various areas. First and foremost, that was the New START Treaty that was signed. And we also managed to establish close cooperation on the most sensitive international issues.

      And I would like to especially thank the U.S. President for his huge work and huge support in Russia’s accession to the WTO. In my view, that was an extremely important topic, and I hope that we will be able to achieve similar successes in resolving remaining issues, such as the revoke of Jackson-Vanik amendment.

      Lots remains to be done, of course, in terms of trade and economic relations. We need to bring them to the new level through increasing the volume of trade and raising the general level and pace of cooperation. And I believe that it would serve the interests of the U.S. companies and the U.S. citizens, especially now that the global economy is experiencing the turbulent times.

      We, of course, as usual, discussed various international issues, including the most difficult ones, such as Syria. Yesterday, I had a very good meeting with the special envoy of the U.N. Secretary General, Mr. Annan, and like I told the U.S. President, we believe that his mission is very good and we hope that he will be able to reach good results, and to somewhat appease, at least initially, the situation, and would help to establish communication between various public groups and forces that exist in Syria. And yesterday, I expressed my every support to Mr. Annan.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/remarks-president-obama-and-president-medvedev-russia-after-bilateral-me

    • March 26, 2012

      Readout by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes on President Obama and President Medvedev’s Bilateral Meeting

      Grand Hyatt Hotel
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      1:53 P.M. KST

      MR. RHODES: This was President Obama’s final bilateral meeting with President Medvedev in his current role as President of Russia. I think as you saw from their remarks, there was a very positive tone to it. President Medvedev and President Obama began by recounting the things that they’d been able to achieve together — the New START Treaty, the Russian accession to the WTO, the Northern Distribution Network, and cooperation on a number of global security issues.

      I think President Medvedev said the same thing in the spray that he said in the meeting, which was that in his view this was the most productive three years in U.S.-Russia relations, certainly since the end of the Cold War.

      Beyond that, they discussed a number of civic issues. On the economic front, both leaders expressed their interest in taking advantage of the progress made on the WTO accession to further U.S.-Russian economic cooperation, and President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to make sure that U.S. businesses are able to gain access to Russian markets. And in that vein, of course, he is pursuing addressing the Jackson-Vanik law in a way that allows U.S. businesses to gain access to Russian markets, and said that we’d be continuing to work with Congress to move forward on that priority.

      On Syria, the two leaders discussed the differences that the United States and Russia have had on the issue of Syria over the course of the last several months. However, they did agree that they could find common ground in support for the mission that Kofi Annan has undertaken as a U.N. and Arab League representative. President Obama made clear his belief that part of the transition envisioned in Kofi Annan’s initiative would have to involve President Assad leaving power so that there can be a government that’s responsive to the Syrian people. But the two leaders had expressed an interest in working together going forward in a way that strengthens Kofi Annan and stops the violence in Syria and enables a transition to take place that is, again, far preferable to the type of conflict that we’ve seen and the potential for even further civil war.

      On Iran, the two leaders discussed the upcoming P5-plus-1 talks with the Iranian government that are being worked out. They both agreed that there is a window of opportunity here to pursue diplomacy and that it’s essential for both the world and the Iranian government to take advantage of that opportunity. President Obama again reiterated I think many of the things he’s been saying in his bilateral meetings with other leaders and that he’s said publicly, which is that, again, we need to move forward with a sense of urgency as we move into these negotiations. However we do have an opportunity here for the Iranian government to take steps to build the confidence of the international community going forward.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/readout-deputy-national-security-advisor-strategic-communications-ben-rh

  13. WH

    Monday, March 26 , 2012

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama attends a bilateral meeting with President Hu Jintao of China.

    1:15 AM
    President Obama hosts a bilateral meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.
    Local Event Time: 2:15PM KST
    Grand Hyatt Hotel, Seoul
    Pool Spray at the Top

    2:00 AM
    3:00 AM
    4:00 AM
    5:00 AM
    5:20 AM
    President Obama participates in a welcome ceremony for the Nuclear Security Summit.
    Local Event Time: 6:20PM KST
    Coex Center, Seoul
    Travel Pool Coverage

    5:30 AM
    President Obama attends a Nuclear Security Summit working dinner.
    Local Event Time: 6:30PM KST
    Coex Center, Seoul
    Pool Spray at the Top

    6:00 AM
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    8:30 AM
    Dr Jill Biden gives remarks at the 2012 National 4-H Conference.

    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:15 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes school children to join her for the fourth annual White House Kitchen Garden spring planting.
    White House Kitchen Garden

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:30 PM
    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden will host a reception in honor of Women’s History Month at the Naval Observatory.
    Naval Observatory

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  14. President Obama attends meetings at the last day of 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Korea

  15. March 22, 2012

    First Lady Invites Children from Across the Country to White House Kitchen Garden Planting

    In addition to Washington D.C. students, Mrs. Obama will welcome children from Iowa,
    New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania who wrote her letters about their gardens

    On Monday, March 26 at 2:15 PM, First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome school children from across the country to join her for the fourth annual White House Kitchen Garden spring planting. In 2009, Mrs. Obama planted the White House Kitchen Garden – the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden – as a way to start a conversation about the health of our nation’s children. From the beginning, Mrs. Obama has included local school children in the planting and harvesting of the garden and this year has also invited children from across the country who wrote to her about their own gardening experiences.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/22/first-lady-invites-children-across-country-white-house-kitchen-garden-pl

  16. Supreme Court schedules health care hearing

    12/19/11 11:34 AM – POLITICO

    The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on the legality of President Obama’s signature health care reform law for March 26-28. The arguments will take place just days after the law’s two-year anniversary.

  17. Senate to vote on bill killing oil tax breaks

    3/22/12 By Andrew Restuccia – TheHill

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled a procedural vote Monday on legislation to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies.

    A Senate Democratic aide told The Hill that Reid filed cloture on the bill, authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Thursday, setting up a procedural vote on Monday at 5:30 p.m..

    The legislation faces major hurdles to passage, but will nonetheless rally many Senate Democrats, who have made killing the tax breaks a top political priority amid soaring gas prices.

    Reid said earlier in the week that a vote on the Menendez bill would be coming, “very soon.” But he did not schedule a vote until Thursday.

    The legislation eliminates a slew of oil industry tax deductions for major integrated oil companies, using the savings to finance the extension of key renewable energy tax credits.

    Democrats have tried to eliminate oil company tax breaks before, but failed. A similar measure fell eight votes short of the 60 votes needed for passage last year.

    President Obama has ramped up pressure on Congress to slash oil industry tax breaks, amid indications that rising gas prices are hurting his reelection bid.

    “The current members of the Flat Earth Society in Congress would rather see us continue to provide $4 billion — $4 billion — in tax subsidies, tax giveaways, to the oil companies; $4 billion to an industry that is making record profits,” Obama said Wednesday during a speech in Boulder City, Nev.

    “Every time you fill up the pump, they’re making money. They are doing just fine. They’re not having any problems,” he said.

    The speech is part of a two-day, four-state energy tour that is meant in part to counter GOP attacks on Obama over gas prices.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/217701-senate-slated-to-vote-on-bill-killing-oil-tax-breaks-monday

    • Hey CR and friends. Hope you are having a nice weekend. It sure would be nice if we had enough votes in both houses to pass this once and for all. PBO gave a great speech tonight in S. Korea and not one single tv station carried the speech. So sad.

      • Hey COS! Yes if it would pass that would be great!
        They just don’t realize the great things that President Obama are accomplishing. Like Kat said President Obama is the adult; he is rational, inteligent, fair, calm as well as compassionate.

  18. ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS OUTLOOK (APBO) CONFERENCE

    University of Southern California, March 26-27, 2012, Los Angeles, CA

    The Asia / Pacific Business Outlook, hosted by the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, with the full support of the U.S. Commercial Service, is the longest running, most successful regional conference of its kind focusing specifically on Asian markets. This conference has made a difference for U.S. exporters, and has become the premier U.S. commercial trade event focusing on the Asia / Pacific region.

    APBO 2012 brings the experts closer to you. It is a very rare opportunity for U.S. exporters to meet with thirteen Senior Commercial Officers (SCOs) from throughout the East Asia Pacific region and India, as well as Russia, Brazil, and Mexico at one venue. The SCOs from American embassies, consulates and institutes in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam will speak in small-group workshops. Sponsored by Export.gov

    For more information: http://export.gov/california/ca/events/apbo/

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama and President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China Before Bilateral Meeting

      Coex Center
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      3:31 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT HU: (As interpreted.) A month ago, Vice President Xi Jinping made a successful visit to the United States. I asked him to hand to the President my reply to earlier letter, and I want to thank the American side for the warm hospitality and for all the arrangements made for his visit.

      Now I’d like to talk to President Obama.

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Mr. President, first of all, I’d like to say — (inaudible) — you and your delegation. And I think that the fact that we have met 11 times during the course of my presidency is an indication of the importance that both of us place on strong U.S.-China relations.

      I am very pleased to hear that Vice President Xi had a wonderful visit. We very much enjoyed hosting him in the United States, and he did deliver your letter, which I appreciated very much.

      I think this is an excellent opportunity for us to discuss a wide range of issues. First of all, the fact that we are at a nuclear security summit, following up on our discussions in Washington two years ago, shows the progress that the international community has made in preventing nuclear proliferation and making sure that we’ve secured nuclear materials. And I know that’s in the interest of both the United States and China.

      I think this is also an opportunity to build on the excellent cooperation and dialogue across all the dimensions of our relationship that we’ve been able to establish over the last three years. So I’m looking forward to discussing economic and commercial issues, how we can continue to expand trade and make sure that there is strong mutual understanding about the potential benefits of commerce between our two nations, in accordance with the international rules and norms.

      It also gives us an opportunity to talk about a wide range of international issues. Obviously of great importance to us and I know to you as well, the situation in North Korea and the situation in Iran — we both have an interest in making sure that international norms surrounding non-proliferation and preventing destabilizing nuclear weapons is very important; issues like Sudan, where we both have an interest in ensuring peace and stability and development in a previously war-torn region of the world; the situation in the Middle East. In all of these issues, I think cooperation and coordination between the United States and China is very important not only to the interest of our two countries but to the interest of the world.

      And so I’m looking forward as always to a constructive, frank, and productive meeting that can ultimately benefit both the peoples of China and the peoples of the United States.

      END
      3:36 P.M. KST

  19. 1:15 AM EDT
    President Obama hosts a bilateral meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan Before Bilateral Meeting

      Grand Hyatt
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      2:27 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: It is wonderful to see once again President Nazarbayev from Kazakhstan. And I want to first of all congratulate him on his leadership for the issues that are going to be discussed over the next two days.

      Twenty years ago, Kazakhstan made a decision not to have nuclear weapons. And not only has that led to growth and prosperity in his own country, but he has been a model in efforts around the world to eliminate nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands. So I very much appreciate his leadership.

      In fact, one of the major deliverables that will take place at the summit is a outstanding effort to deal with nuclear materials that were carried over from the Soviet era. Working with Russia and the United States, Kazakhstan has been able to secure those materials, and that makes us all safer.

      I know that we’ll have an opportunity during this bilateral meeting to also discuss some of the other efforts that Kazakhstan has made when it comes to highly-enriched uranium, plutonium, their efforts at helping to develop a international fuel bank that can lessen the need for countries to pursue their own enrichment capabilities.

      So across the board, Kazakhstan has been a key leader on these issues and is appropriately going to be featured during the next two days at this nuclear security summit.

      The close relationship between our two countries extends beyond just the nuclear security issue, so this meeting will give us an opportunity to discuss the cooperation that we have built over the last several years with respect to Afghanistan and the help we’ve received in supplying our troops and helping to assist the Afghan government.

      We obviously have commercial tie as well, and we’ll be discussing how we can deepen those. I’ll be interested in discussing with the President efforts to further expand democracy and human rights within Kazakhstan, which will help to lead to further growth and prosperity in the future.

      And so I very much appreciate his leadership and his efforts. And I look forward to continuing to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/remarks-president-obama-and-president-nursultan-nazarbayev-republic-kaza

  20. 5:20 AM EDT
    President Obama participates in a welcome ceremony for the Nuclear Security Summit.

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks of Dr. Jill Biden at the National 4-H Conference

      National 4-H Youth Conference Center
      Chevy Chase, Maryland

      As Prepared for Delivery

      Good Morning. Thank you, Stephen, for that kind introduction. Thank you, Secretary Vilsack, for your terrific leadership. Dr. Lauxman, thank you for hosting this conference and for your great work.

      It is great to be with 4-H-rs from all around the country! I wanted to come here today to thank all of you for the tremendous work you do to support our troops and our military families.

      As some of you may know, I’m a military mom. My son Beau is a soldier in the Delaware National Guard and he was deployed to Iraq for a year. That was a tough year for our family.

      Beau has two young children, and, of course, they missed their dad terribly. But one of the most wonderful things that happened to them that year was the support and love they got – from family, from friends, from teachers, and neighbors. Our family knows firsthand just how important it is for children to have that kind of support when a parent is deployed.

      That is why First Lady Michelle Obama and I started our Joining Forces initiative. We want to encourage all Americans to find ways to support our military families. Individuals, groups, and businesses have risen to the challenge in so many wonderful ways.

      The work of 4-H is a perfect example of what we hope people all across our country will do. You have a long history of supporting our military.

      Whether it’s through the Military 4-H Club Program directly serving military kids on bases or through programs like Operation: Military Kids helping non-military youth support kids impacted by deployment, 4-H has provided a sense of community for military-connected children for decades.

      4-H has given military-connected children an outlet – a chance to use their talents and helped them reach their full potential – even while they face some unique and difficult challenges.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/trilateral-announcement-between-mexico-united-states-and-canada-nuclear-

  21. Hoodies in church: In Sunday sermons about Trayvon Martin, calls for justice from the pulpit

    3/25/12 By Dylan Stableford | The Lookout – 4 hrs ago

    In their Sunday sermons, pastors and church leaders across the country mourned the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old African-American who was killed in Sanford, Fla., last month. Some wore hoodies in Martin’s honor. Many church-goers did the same.

    In Atlanta, dozens wore hoodies in Martin’s memory at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.

    “They said his name was Trayvon Martin,” a hoodie-clad Rev. Raphael Warnock said. “But he looked like Emmett Till,” a reference to the 1955 case of a 14-year-old boy who was lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman. “At least with Emmett Till someone was arrested. And that was in 1955.”

    Many others called for justice in the case–and for George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch captain who shot Martin, to be arrested.

    Rev. Jesse Jackson called Martin a “martyr,” and led the congregation at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Fla., in a chant: “Stop the violence. Save the children.”

    “Whether you are wearing a hood or a sheet, nobody has the right to kill anybody,” Jackson said. “The danger of focusing on the hoodie is that he wasn’t killed because of the hoodie. He was killed because he was black. The issue is not the hoodie–it’s race, registration and civil rights.”

    Jackson also compared Martin’s death to Till, as well as those of slain civil rights leaders Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King.

    “There’s power in the blood of Emmett Till,” Jackson preached. “There’s power in in the blood of Medgar Evers! There’s power in the blood of Dr. King!”

    • This is true, it’s not about the hoodie. Everybody and their grandmother wears hoodies. This innocent kid was targeted. His parents must have incredible strength to survive this.

  22. Next Up…

    8:45 AM EDT
    White House/EPA Women & The Environment Briefing
    EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, Senior Advisor and Chair of the Council on Women & Girls

    • Women and the Environment Briefing: Panel 1

      Uploaded by whitehouse on Mar 26, 2012

      EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senior Advisor and Chair of the Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett and other senior Administration officials participate in panel discussions about the continued need for women to take an active role in protecting our natural resources.

    • Women and the Environment Briefing: Panel 2

      Uploaded by whitehouse on Mar 26, 2012

      EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senior Advisor and Chair of the Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett and other senior Administration officials participate in panel discussions about the continued need for women to take an active role in protecting our natural resources.

    • Women and the Environment Briefing: Closing Remarks

      Uploaded by whitehouse on Mar 26, 2012

      EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senior Advisor and Chair of the Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett and other senior Administration officials participate in a briefing about the continued need for women to take an active role in protecting our natural resources. March 27, 2012.

  23. March 25, 2012

    Statement by the Press Secretary on John Brennan’s Call with President Hadi of Yemen

    Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan called Yemeni President Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi today to discuss the ongoing political transition in Yemen. Mr. Brennan commended President Hadi’s continued leadership and reiterated that the U.S. Government strongly supports full implementation of the National Dialogue. He noted that it is essential that all Yemeni political actors, especially those from the previous government, play a constructive role in the transition process, and he expressed concern over recent reports that some former government officials are being disruptive. President Hadi thanked the United States for its strong support and affirmed his commitment to restore stability to Yemen through a political transition. Mr. Brennan and President Hadi both emphasized the strong partnership between the United States and Yemen and pledged that the two countries, together with Yemen’s other international partners, will work closely together to confront Yemen’s security and economic challenges.

  24. March 26, 2012

    Trilateral Announcement Between Mexico, the United States, and Canada on Nuclear Security

    At the March 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, the Governments of Mexico, the United States, and Canada announced the completion of an important joint nuclear security project to convert the fuel in Mexico’s research reactor from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU). The project was initiated at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. in April 2010, and was carried out by the three countries, working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    The full conversion of the reactor from the use of HEU to LEU fuel supports the goal of minimizing the use of HEU for civilian purposes. By converting its research nuclear reactor, Mexico contributes to non-proliferation.

    President Calderón stated, “With this decision, Mexico reaffirms its commitment to building a world free of the nuclear threat. Each country must do its share to reach a safer North America and a safer planet. This is a clear example of the significant work we can do together in the North American region.”

    This effort, which was conducted and completed under the auspices of the IAEA, benefited from the hard work and dedication of hundreds of individuals from all three countries and the IAEA, and it further strengthens nuclear security in North America.

    President Obama stated, “I would like to thank Mexico, Canada and the IAEA for their support of our joint nuclear security efforts. Our strong trilateral partnership, supported by the IAEA, has made our people safer and advanced our international nuclear security effort leading into the Seoul Summit.”

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/trilateral-announcement-between-mexico-united-states-and-canada-nuclear-

    • March 27, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama, President Medvedev of Russia, and President Nazarbayev of Kazakstan at Trilateral Announcement

      Coex Center
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      12:00 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV: (As interpreted.) Well, probably as all of you know that Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was one of the largest nuclear test sites in the world, together with Nevada. And about 500 nuclear tests have been carried out on this test site, 70 of them in the open air.

      And the polygon was closed by my first decree as the President of Kazakhstan 20 years ago, and since then, together with Russia and the United States, we have been working to rehabilitate the territory around the Semipalatinsk test site. And since 2004, we were able to rehabilitate from radiation about 3,000 square kilometers of the polygon. The total polluted area is about 40,000 square kilometers. And as a result of tests in the past, about 1.5 million people have been radiated.

      And this is a very good example of close collaboration when all three countries also work on getting rid of the military infrastructure on the polygon. And you probably know that about 1,100 warheads have been deployed on military missiles on the territory of the polygon in military launching shafts. And we closed that also, together with the help of Russian and American partners. And we are very grateful, the people of Kazakhstan are very grateful for that assistance, and we hope that we’ll be able to work together in the future for a safer world on nuclear non-proliferation.

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I’m going to just make a very brief statement here. We wanted to do this brief appearance to highlight one of the most significant examples of what we’ve been doing through this Nuclear Security Summit, and what our three countries have been able to accomplish through some painstaking cooperation over the last several years.

      As President of Kazakhstan indicated, this was a major site for nuclear operations during the Cold War. There was a lot of loose nuclear material that was vulnerable to potential smugglers, to potential infiltration. And as a consequence of extraordinary cooperation between our three countries that actually predates my administration, but was accelerated as a consequence of this Nuclear Security Summit, we’ve been able to effectively lock down and secure all this vulnerable material.

      So we have been able to do this in part because of the outstanding leadership of President Nazarbayev and the people of Kazakhstan. We’ve also been able to do it because the United States and Russia over the last several years have shown ourselves to have a mutual interest in making sure that nuclear materials are secured and that they do not fall into the wrong hands.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/27/remarks-president-obama-president-medvedev-russia-and-president-nazarbay

      • March 26, 2012

        Joint Statement of the Presidents of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and the United States of America Regarding the Trilateral Cooperation at the Former Semipalatinsk Test Site

        The Presidents of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and the United States of America have committed to combat the threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

        Since 2004 our three countries have been collaborating to implement a number of projects aimed at elimination of the remnants of the past nuclear testing activities within the territory of the former Semipalatinsk Test Site to bring it to a safe and secure state. The Presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States of America have personally supervised the realization of these goals.

        A significant volume of work has been accomplished by now. As a result of application of modern physical and technical means the level of security at the former site has been substantially enhanced.

        This work is nearly complete and we consider it a highly successful example of the trilateral cooperation representing our shared commitment to nuclear security and non-proliferation.

      • March 26, 2012

        Fact Sheet: History of Trilateral Threat Reduction Cooperation at the Former Semipalatinsk Test Site

        From 1949 through 1989, the Soviet Union conducted hundreds of underground nuclear tests and experiments at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS). Located in remote eastern Kazakhstan, the STS occupies approximately 18,000 square kilometers, almost the size of New Jersey and over five times the size of the Nevada Test Site. After achieving independence, Kazakhstan partnered with the Department of Defense (DoD) Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program– with support from Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) –to eliminate legacy Soviet nuclear test infrastructure in support of nonproliferation objectives. In 2000, DoD completed itsproject to seal 181 test tunnels and 13 test shafts at STS.

        In the following years, evidence of scavenging activity at STS, coupled with the increased focus on nuclear terrorism after September 11, led to an assessment that nuclear material remaining in the tunnelswas vulnerable. An unprecedented collaboration between former Soviet and U.S. weapons scientists concluded that over a dozen weapons worth of nuclear material likely remained at the site. Russia, Kazakhstan, and the United States concluded the material was vulnerable enough to require a sustained effort to secure areas of STS. Scientists and policymakers identified over 40 tunnels that posed sufficient risk to be included in the work plan. DoD’s CTR Program managed the project for the United States, with technical support from LANL.

        For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/fact-sheet-history-trilateral-threat-reduction-cooperation-former-semipa

  25. March 26, 2012

    Joint Statement by the United States, Chile, Poland, Nigeria, Morocco, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea on the Nuclear Security Summit Outreach Efforts

    In order to promote the goals of the 2010 Nuclear Security Communique to secure nuclear material and prevent nuclear terrorism, and specifically its call to strengthen global nuclear security through dialogue and cooperation with all states, the governments of Chile, Poland, Nigeria and Thailand, and Morocco hosted regional outreach meetings as a forum to collaboratively discuss nuclear security challenges in each of their particular regions. The United States and the Republic of Korea, as hosts of the 2010 Summit and the 2012 Summit, have convened informational meetings at the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations as part of Summit Outreach efforts.

    We strongly welcome and promote the continuation of these outreach efforts as we continue to implement the 2010 Communique and Work Plan, the 2012 Communique, and as we prepare for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit.

    • March 27, 2012

      Joint Statement on Nuclear Terrorism

      The governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and French Republic each understand the threat of nuclear terrorism and share the collective responsibility to inform and strengthen international measures designed to secure sensitive information, technology or nuclear material from access by terrorists, and to develop emergency response measures. In recognition of these shared principles, consistent with our rights and obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, our three governments are taking the following initial steps:

      INFCIRC/225/Rev. 5 recognizes that nuclear security protection levels are critically dependent upon the attractiveness of nuclear materials to potential terrorist adversaries with intent to assemble a nuclear explosive device. We will actively engage in international workshops to address graded approaches for the characterization of nuclear material attractiveness to further enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of physical protection measures.
      We have the specialized knowledge and capability to diagnose, render safe, characterize and dispose of a nuclear threat device. We have a focused effort to continually enhance the technical capabilities of our emergency detection and response assets to any such threat. As such we will seek, wherever possible, to engage with the international community to further strengthen worldwide preparedness to contend with the threat of nuclear terrorism.

    • March 27, 2012

      Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Training and Support Centers

      On the occasion of their participation in the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, Algeria, Australia, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States note their intent to collaborate in the form of the International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSCs) aiming to build up a cadre of highly qualified and well trained nuclear security personnel, provide specific technical support required for effective use and maintenance of instruments and other nuclear security technical systems, as well as provide scientific support for the detection of and the response to nuclear security events in a country.

      In accordance with its Nuclear Security Plan for 2010-13 approved by the Board of Governors in September 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Office of Nuclear Security supports these member states through coordination of the activities of the Network. The IAEA’s Nuclear Security Web Portal (NUSEC) provides a platform to facilitate coordination and sharing of best practices.

      These NNSCs enhance nuclear security at the national level and promote many of the elements of the Communiqué and Work Plan of the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit and the Communiqué of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. In particular, they support human resource development and education and training in nuclear security, enhance nuclear security culture, and maintain a well-trained cadre of technical experts.

    • March 27, 2012

      Joint Statement on National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security

      On the occasion of their participation in the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, the governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, affirm their support to the initiative of Indonesia to draw up a National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security.

      The National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security can help States develop a more comprehensive national legislation on nuclear security in accordance with their own respective internal legal processes. It can provide States with references to a wide array of consolidated elements and provisions from different nuclear security conventions/treaties, as well as international legal instruments and frameworks. The action to create a single and friendly reference kit shall involve all international organizations relevant to nuclear security, with the IAEA coordinating the task.

      After the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, States supporting this initiative will continue to backstop and encourage the IAEA and other relevant international organizations to explore concrete ways forward to draw up the national legislation implementation kit, particularly after the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

    • March 27, 2012

      Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul, March 2012: Multinational Statement on Nuclear Information Security

      1. In the principal communiqué here at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, all participants reaffirm their commitment to the security of nuclear information as follows:

      We recognize the importance of preventing non-state actors from obtaining information, technology or expertise required to acquire or use nuclear materials for malicious purposes, or to disrupt information technology based control systems at nuclear facilities. We therefore encourage States to: continue to develop and strengthen national and facility-level measures for the effective management of such information, including information on the procedures and protocols to protect nuclear materials and facilities; to support relevant capacity building projects; and to enhance cyber security measures concerning nuclear facilities, consistent with the IAEA General Conference Resolution on Nuclear Security (GC(55)/Res/10) and bearing in mind the International Telecommunication Union Resolution 174. We also encourage States to: promote a security culture that emphasizes the need to protect nuclear security related information; engage with scientific, industrial and academic communities in the pursuit of common solutions; and support the IAEA in producing and disseminating improved guidance on protecting information.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/27/nuclear-security-summit-seoul-march-2012-multinational-statement-nuclear

  26. March 26, 2012

    Belgium-France-Netherlands-United States Joint Statement: Minimization of HEU and the Reliable Supply of Medical Radioisotopes

    Gathered in Seoul on the occasion of the second Nuclear Security Summit, leaders of Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United States reaffirm their commitment to minimize the use of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) for civilian purposes, where technically and economically feasible, in order to advance the goal of nuclear security, as stated in the Washington Final Communiqué and Work Plan. Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the United States have committed to a set of activities designed to concurrently minimize the use of HEU and ensure a reliable supply of medical isotopes for patients worldwide in need of vital medical diagnostic treatments.

    Currently, in some facilities, HEU is still indispensable to produce medical radioisotopes used for radiopharmaceutical products. Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, as leading European countries involved in producing isotopes, have a special responsibility to ensure their reliable supply, for the benefit of the international medical community and patients worldwide. They have demonstrated their ability to find solutions for temporary shortages by prompt redirection of medical radioisotope production during the recent supply crises.

    The four countries acknowledge that HEU, which can be directly used for the manufacture of nuclear explosive devices, is particularly sensitive and requires special precautions. For this reason, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the United States underscore the importance of activities to continue to ensure that security measures employed at all facilities using HEU, including medical isotope production facilities, provide protection at least comparable to commitments in international treaties and to the recommendations set forth in International Atomic Energy Agency information circular INFCIRC/225 as revised.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/belgium-france-netherlands-united-states-joint-statement-minimization-he

    • March 26, 2012

      Joint Statement on Quadrilateral Cooperation on High-density Low-enriched Uranium Fuel Production

      We, the leaders of Belgium, France, the United States and the Republic of Korea gathered in Seoul on the occasion of the Second Nuclear Security Summit recognize that the ultimate goal of nuclear security is advanced by minimizing highly-enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian use, which is declared in the Washington Communique and the Work Plan and is also a key issue on the agenda of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

      In this regard expressing our strong commitment to achieving the nuclear security objectives and noting the continued use of civilian HEU as research reactor fuel, we are cooperating on utilizing high-density low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel powder production technology in the following ways as part of an effort to convert research reactors from HEU fuel to LEU fuel.

      1. The United States will provide by the end of 2012 a sufficient amount of LEU, approximately 100 kg, for the Republic of Korea to manufacture approximately 100kg of atomized uranium molybdenum (U-Mo) powder within the year 2013 using the centrifugal atomizing technology developed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute.

      2. The Republic of Korea will provide this U-Mo powder to the French fabricator AREVA CERCA for its use in the manufacture of high-density U-Mo fuel lead test assemblies.

      3. France and Belgium will load this U-Mo fuel into their high performance research reactors once an appropriate form of high-density U-Mo dispersion type of fuel has been qualified.

      4. Following the loading of U-Mo fuel, our experts will assess the performance of the fuel and other technical aspects of this project, including the function and efficiency of the U-Mo fuel and if the result proves satisfactory, we intend to further cooperate in sharing adequate information and providing necessary assistance to countries seeking to convert reactors from HEU fuel to LEU fuel.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/joint-statement-quadrilateral-cooperation-high-density-low-enriched-uran

      • March 27, 2012

        FACT SHEET: Ukraine Highly Enriched Uranium Removal

        The United States today announced the removal of 128 kilograms (over 280 pounds) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from two remaining sites in Ukraine. The shipments were completed as part of a joint effort with Ukraine and fulfill the commitments made by Presidents Obama and Yanukovych at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit to remove all of Ukraine’s HEU by the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit.

        Implementation of the April 2010 Joint Statement by Presidents Obama and Yanukovych required a total of six different secure operations and unprecedented cooperation among the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the IAEA to successfully remove a total of 234 kilograms over a two-year period. Originally, there were three sites in Ukraine with different quantities and types of HEU. The first shipment to remove 56 kilograms of spent HEU fuel from the Kiev Institute of Nuclear Research (KINR) took place in May 2010. This was followed by three shipments – all in late December 2010 – to remove 16 kilograms of fresh HEU from the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, 25 kilograms of fresh HEU from Sevastopol University, and 10 kilograms of fresh HEU from the Kiev Institute of Nuclear Research. The HEU was returned to Russia, where it will be downblended into low enriched uranium (LEU). Unlike HEU, LEU cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon.

        For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/27/fact-sheet-ukraine-highly-enriched-uranium-removal

        • March 27, 2012

          Readout of the President’s Discussion with President Yanukovych

          The President and Ukrainian President Yanukovych spoke today at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea. President Obama expressed appreciation to President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian people for the complete removal of highly enriched uranium from their country as a sign of Ukraine’s continuing courageous leadership on nuclear security. The leaders agreed this is an important step towards securing all vulnerable nuclear materials and is an important milestone for global security. The President underscored the importance of demonstrating the vitality of Ukrainian democracy by ensuring free, fair, and transparent parliamentary elections in October. The President also raised U.S. concerns about selective prosecutions of the political opposition.

    • March 27, 2012

      Fact Sheet: Belgium Nuclear Security Summit

      As one of the leaders in nuclear technology development, Belgium’s nuclear program has covered all aspects of nuclear fuel cycle including reprocessing and operated a reprocessing plant between 1966 and 1974.

      *Belgium signed the NPT in 1975 as a non-weapons state, but has retained a leading nuclear technology research center and derives over 50% of its energy from nuclear power using 7 power reactors.

      *SCK-CEN is one of the largest research centers in Belgium whose mission includes among other areas, the backend of the nuclear fuel cycle, decommissioning of nuclear sites, and countering nuclear proliferation.

      *At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, Belgium has announced it will work jointly with the United States to eliminate its excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium.

      *SCK-CEN has been working closely for the past year with NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), to identify materials that can be transferred to the United States for disposition.

      *Belgium and the United States will continue to work together to complete the removal of this material in connection with the Nuclear Security Summit in 2014.

      Material quantities and locations are considered sensitive information so cannot be shared at this time.

  27. March 26, 2012

    Italy Fact Sheet: Nuclear Security Summit 2012

    Between the 1960s and mid-1980s, Italy had an ambitious nuclear power research program which included heavy water, boiling water, light water, and fast reactors. In 1979, Italy signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which reaffirmed its commitment to be nuclear weapons free.

    • In 1987, through a referendum, Italy announced the end of its nuclear energy program, and the Società Gestione Impianti Nucleari (SOGIN) was created in 2001 to decommission and clean up nuclear facilities.

    • At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, Italy has announced it will work jointly with the United States to eliminate its excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium.

    • SOGIN has been working closely for the past year with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), to identify materials that can be transferred to the United States for disposition.

    • Italy and the United States will continue to work together to complete the removal of this material in connection with the Nuclear Security Summit in 2014.

  28. Pending Home Sales Index

    3/26/12 21 minutes ago – National Association of Realtors

    WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire -03/26/12)- Pending home sales were down slightly in February but remain notably above the pattern in the first half of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

    The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, eased 0.5 percent to 96.5 in February from 97.0 in January but is 9.2 percent above February 2011 when it was 88.4. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said we’re seeing the continuation of an uneven but higher sales pattern. “The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year,” he said. “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years. Based on all of the factors in the current market, that’s what we’re expecting with sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”

    The PHSI in the Northeast slipped 0.6 percent to 77.7 in February but is 18.4 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index jumped 6.5 percent to 93.8 and is 19.0 percent higher than February 2011. Pending home sales in the South fell 3.0 percent to an index of 105.8 in February but are 7.8 percent above a year ago. In the West the index declined 2.6 percent in February to 99.3 and is 1.8 percent below February 2011.

    For the entire article: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pending-home-sales-ease-february-140000383.html

  29. March 26, 2012

    Technical Trade Proclamation; Messages to Congress Regarding Argentina and South Sudan

    Attached and signed by the President today is a technical trade proclamation to modify duty-free treatment under the generalized system of preferences and for other purposes as well as a message to Congress signed by the President today regarding Argentina and a message to Congress signed by the President today regarding South Sudan.

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks by the First Lady at White House Kitchen Garden Planting

      South Lawn

      2:20 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: How are you guys doing?

      AUDIENCE: Good.

      MRS. OBAMA: Welcome to the White House. What are these? Are they good?

      AUDIENCE: Yes.

      MRS. OBAMA: Looks good. And you’ve got some apples. Yes. What’s going on?

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you like living here?

      MRS. OBAMA: Do I like living here? Yes, it’s fun to live here. It’s fun, especially on a day like this because you guys are going to help us plant the garden, right?

      AUDIENCE: Yes.

      MRS. OBAMA: Yay! It’s so exciting! All right.

      Well, we have a lot of special guests here. Because every year we do this — and what year is this? This is our fourth planting. This is the fourth time we’ve planted the White House garden.

      So we’re here again. And we’ve got students from Tubman and Bancroft. Yes, where are our Tubman and Bancroft students who are here? But we also have special guests from all over the country. We’ve got some Girl Scouts who are here. (Applause.) Woo for the Girl Scouts! We’ve got students from Iowa. (Applause.) Woo! We’ve got students from New York.

      AUDIENCE MEMBERS: That’s us.

      MRS. OBAMA: You guys, the Girl Scouts from New York. We’ve got students from Pennsylvania. (Applause.) Woo! And North Carolina. (Applause.) Woo hoo! Very good.

      Well, you guys, the students from around the country, you guys wrote some really nice letters telling us about stories of the work that you’re doing in your schools, in your communities. And your letters were so wonderful, I thought, why not come and see me at the White House and help me plant my garden? And you made it! Welcome. It’s good to have you. (Applause.)

      Well, I don’t know if you know, one of the reasons why we plant the garden is that it’s an important way to have a good conversation about your health. Because one of the things that I’ve been trying to do as First Lady is work on an initiative that I call Let’s Move. Have you guys heard about Let’s Move?

      AUDIENCE: Yes!

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/remarks-first-lady-white-house-kitchen-garden-planting

  30. March 26, 2012

    Statement by the President on Senegal’s Elections

    I congratulate Macky Sall on his victory in Senegal’s presidential elections. Domestic and international observers report that the election was carried out transparently, freely, and reflects the will of the Senegalese people.

    I also recognize President Abdoulaye Wade for his leadership and friendship to the United States during his presidency. I look forward to building similarly productive ties with President-elect Sall, while deepening the longstanding bonds between the United States and the Senegalese people.

    Senegal has, through this election, reaffirmed its tradition as a leading example of good governance and democracy at work in Africa and remains an example for its neighbors. The government and people of Senegal have once again demonstrated their commitment to political expression through peaceful, democratic elections, making it harder for non-democratic forces near and far to prevail. Today’s results deepen hopes across the continent and around the world that the quest for human dignity cannot be denied and that Africa’s democratic wave must continue.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/statement-president-senegal-s-elections

  31. 70,000_Korean_trade_agreements_signed_by_PBO

    Discussing the Global Economy and Nuclear Security in Seoul

    Matt Compton March 26, 2012 05:15 PM EDT

    Tomorrow, President Obama will head home from South Korea — after a busy three days of diplomatic meetings and discussions of nuclear security.

    At a talk today with students at Hankuk University, the President outlined the reasons why he’s made the issue such a major priority:

    We’re building an international architecture that can ensure nuclear safety. But we’re under no illusions. We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons, is still being stored without adequate protection. And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it — as well as radioactive material for a dirty bomb. We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis. The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security. And that’s why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.
    This is the President’s third official visit to South Korea, and as he pointed today, he’s been to Seoul more than any other capital. That fact obviously to speaks the strength of the political relationship between our two nations, but it also highlights our growing economic ties.

    That’s why President Obama worked so hard to pass the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement— which will help to support an estimated 70,000 jobs in the years ahead and increase U.S. GDP by at least $11 billion due to increased exports of goods.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/03/26/discussing-global-economy-and-nuclear-security-seoul

    • March 26, 2012

      Fact Sheet: Plutonium Removal from Sweden

      Sweden has been a global leader on nonproliferation, and was one of the first countries to return highly enriched uranium based spent fuel under the U.S. Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (FRR SNF) Acceptance Program, which began in 1996 as part of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). NNSA has worked collaboratively with Sweden to remove all weapons-usable nuclear material from the country.

      Plutonium Removal from Sweden:

      At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, the United States and Sweden announced the successful removal of plutonium from Sweden. This shipment was completed by NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and was the first shipment of plutonium to the United States under this program. The mission to remove plutonium from Sweden was initiated in 2009 and completed in 2012.

      The plutonium was located at AB SVAFO facility in Studsvik, about 100 km south of Stockholm. Over 3 kilograms of plutonium was removed and included both Swedish and U.S. origin material. Prior to removal, the plutonium was securely stored in a special vault under IAEA safeguards. In order to complete this project, NNSA and Sweden needed to develop facilities to stabilize and repackage the plutonium materials.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/fact-sheet-plutonium-removal-sweden

  32. 6:30 PM EDT
    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden will host a reception in honor of Women’s History Month at the Naval Observatory.

  33. 1:30 AM EDT
    The President attends a second plenary session
    Local Event Time: 2:30PM KST
    Coex Center
    Travel Pool Coverage

    • March 26, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama at Opening Plenary Session of the Nuclear Security Summit

      Coex Center
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      9:22 A.M. KST

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much, President Lee, for welcoming us here today and for the extraordinary hospitality and accommodations that have been provided by the Republic of Korea. We are very grateful to you, and we are grateful to the Korean people for the outstanding leadership in bringing us here together in Seoul.

      Like the G20 summit two years ago, this gathering is a tribute to the nations that contribute to security and peace that’s playing a leading role around the globe and that’s taking its rightful place on the world stage. When I hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit two years ago in Washington, there were those who questioned whether our nations could summon the will to confront one of the gravest dangers of our time. In part because it involves a lot of technical issues, in part because the world was still grappling with a whole host of other issues like the economy and the global recession, there was some skepticism that we would be able to sustain an effort around this topic. But that’s exactly what we’ve done.

      We’ve agreed that nuclear terrorism is one of the most urgent and serious threats to global security. We agreed to the goal of securing the world’s nuclear materials in four years. We committed ourselves to specific and concrete actions. And to get this done, we agreed a new effort of sustained and effective international cooperation was required, that we would need to create an architecture in which we could share best practices, help to enforce many of the commitments that we had already made, and continue to improve every aspect of this issue.

      Over the past two years, the questions have been different
      — would we back up our words with deeds; would we sustain our cooperation. Today, here in Seoul, we can answer with a resounding yes. We are fulfilling the commitments we made in Washington. We are improving security at our nuclear facilities. We are forging new partnerships. We are removing nuclear materials, and in some cases, getting rid of these materials entirely. And as a result, more of the world’s nuclear materials will never fall into the hands of terrorists who would gladly use them against us.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/26/remarks-president-obama-opening-plenary-session-nuclear-security-summit

  34. 4:00 AM EDT
    The President holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan
    Local Event Time: 5:00PM KST
    Coex Center
    Pool Spray at the Top

    • March 27, 2012

      Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan before Bilateral Meeting

      Coex Center
      Seoul, Republic of Korea

      5:16 P.M. KST

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to say how much I appreciate the opportunity to meet once again with Prime Minister Gilani and his delegation.

      Obviously, the United States and Pakistan have a host of mutual interests. We’re both interested in combating terrorism, both internationally and in our respective countries. We both are interested in economic development. We’re both interested in nuclear security, as evidenced by our presence here today. And we have been working together because we’re both interested in a stable and secure Afghanistan and a stable and secure region that will benefit not only Pakistan but also the entire world.

      I want to express my appreciation to Prime Minister Gilani for the work that he’s done in trying to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. There have been times — I think we should be frank — over the last several months where those relations have experienced strains. But I welcome the fact that the parliament in Pakistan is reviewing, after some extensive study, the nature of this relationship. I think that it’s important for us to get it right. I think it’s important for us to have candid dialogue to work through these issues in a constructive fashion and a transparent fashion.

      And my expectation is, is that as a consequence of the review that’s taking place in Pakistan as well as the work that we’re doing on the American side, that we can achieve the kind of balanced approach that respects Pakistan’s sovereignty, but also it respects our concerns with respect to our national security and our needs to battle terrorists who have targeted us in the past.

      I also want to express to the Prime Minister my appreciation for his recognition that it’s in both of our interests and indeed in all of our interests to see an Afghan-led reconciliation process that needs to take place. And I appreciate the Prime Minister’s statement in that regard.

      And finally, I want to express my thanks for his participation in this conference, because I think that we all agree that given the threats that have been directed in Pakistan, the terrorism that has taken place on their own soil, and obviously our experiences with terrorism, we can’t afford to have non-state actors, terrorists, get their hands on nuclear weapons that could end up destroying our cities or harming our citizens.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-gilani-pakistan-bilateral-mee

    • March 23, 2012
      Statement by the Press Secretary on President Obama’s Meeting with Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan

      President Obama will meet with Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan on Tuesday, March 27, after the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. The meeting will be an opportunity for the United States and Pakistan to continue high-level consultations on areas of mutual interest. In particular, the President looks forward to reviewing our efforts to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process, and to pursue an end-state in the region that advances security and prosperity.

  35. GOP WRONG WAY

    Romney’s failures on foreign policy

    March 26, 2012 Posted by Madeleine Perry – democrats.org

    Today, Mitt Romney falsely accused the President of caving to Russia on missile defense. But his comments beg the question: what exactly is Mitt Romney’s foreign policy experience?

    More than once, Mitt Romney has reacted to the news that the U.S. would be pulling its troops out of combat assignments in Afghanistan by mid-2013, saying that President Obama was “naïve.” You have to wonder at the use of the term, given Romney’s flip-flop on the Obama strategy of an Afghan withdrawal at least three times: he was for it, then against it, before recommending “a gradual transition”—whatever that is.

    In addition to his Etch A Sketch approach to Afghanistan, Romney seems particularly unsure of what the U.S. should do in the Middle East. His foreign policy white paper fails to lay out a concrete strategy for what America should do in Iraq, speaking in broad strokes and ending with a statement that the U.S. should use “the broad array of our foreign-policy tools” to establish a lasting relationship with the Iraqi people. That’s not a strategy; it’s an applause line. At one point Romney even claimed that President Obama was following Bush’s “wisdom” on Iraq, which seems, at minimum, a spectacular misuse of the term.

    But maybe foreign policy just isn’t that important to Romney. In 2008, while running for the GOP nomination against John McCain, Romney’s canned foreign policy responses suggested he doesn’t think a president needs to have any foreign policy experience at all. “If foreign policy experience were the measure for selecting a president,” he said, “we’d just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who’ve spent their whole life in foreign policy.” Which is to say, when it comes to foreign policy, Romney would just as soon have someone else show leadership.

    Ben Labolt, OFA Press Secretary, said today:

    “Once again Governor Romney is undermining his credibility by distorting the President’s words. Governor Romney has been all over the map on the key foreign policy challenges facing our nation today, offering a lot of chest thumping and empty rhetoric with no concrete plans to enhance our security or strengthen our alliances … Instead of passing the buck, it is time that Governor Romney shared his foreign policy agenda with the American people.”

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.org/news/blog/4301

    • Medvedev slams Romney for anti-Russia comments

      3/27/12 By Holly Bailey | The Ticket – 40 mins ago

      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticized Mitt Romney for his characterization of Russia as the United States’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe,” insisting his description of the current U.S.-Russia relationship was based more on “Hollywood” than on reality.

      “Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like ‘enemy No. 1,’ this always alarms me, this smells of Hollywood and certain times [of the past],” Medvedev said in a press availability at the conclusion of a nuclear security summit in South Korea, according to Reuters.

      The outgoing Russian leader advised Romney and other presidential contenders to “do at least two things.”

      “Use their head and consult their reason when they formulate their positions, and that they check the time—it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s,” Medvedev declared.

      His remarks come a day after Romney criticized President Barack Obama for getting caught on an open mic Monday telling Medvedev he’d have “more flexibility” in negotiations over a missile defense system and arms control issues after the upcoming 2012 election. Obama later said he was speaking to the reality of election year politics.

      In an interview with CNN Monday, Romney slammed Obama’s remarks calling them “alarming” and “troubling.”

      “Who is it that always stands up with the world’s worst actors? It’s always Russia, typically with China alongside. In terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that’s on the Security Council, and as of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe,” Romney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “The idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he’s not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming.”

      Democrats immediately seized on Romney’s remarks. In a statement issued by the Democratic National Committee, former NATO Gen. Wesley Clark accused Romney of trying to “rehash Cold War fears.”

      For the entire article: http://goo.gl/D7Xqg

  36. March 27, 2012

    Statement of Activity and Cooperation to Counter Nuclear Smuggling

    At the Washington Nuclear Security Summit we agreed on a Communiqué and Work Plan that included actions aimed at thwarting the illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials. We recognize that identifying nuclear smugglers, recovering nuclear and radiological material outside of regulatory control, and prosecuting those responsible are important and effective activities to help prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear or other radioactive materials. Making good on these pledges, on a voluntary basis we have taken the following actions individually and together.

    Jordan, Canada, The Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Philippines, Sweden, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, The United Kingdom and The United States of America since or before the Washington Summit have taken steps to build national capacities to counter nuclear smuggling. Although not universal to all countries in this list, the types of capabilities include increased law enforcement and intelligence efforts to investigate nuclear smuggling networks, increased use of radiation detection systems and measures to find materials outside of regulatory control at and inside borders, increased capability of nuclear forensics to trace material origin and illicit movement, and increased legal training for prosecutors to assure conviction as appropriate. Jordan, Canada, The Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Philippines, Sweden, The United Arab Emirates, The United Kingdom and The United States of America pledge to take steps towards building these capacities by the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit.

  37. March 27, 2012

    United States-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group Fact Sheet

    Since the announcement of establishing the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group at the U.S.-Japan Summit meeting in November 2010, this Group has successfully fulfilled its responsibility to identify and coordinate tangible outcomes for the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, including the promotion of robust security for nuclear materials at civilian nuclear facilities and during transport, by making achievements in the following 9 areas:

    Goal 1: Co-operation within the Integrated Support Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN)

    Goal 2: Research and Development of Nuclear Forensics, Measurement and Detection Technologies, and Sharing of Investigatory Best Practices

    Goal 3: Cooperation on Safeguards Implementation

    Goal 4: Sharing Best Practices for Nuclear Security in New Facility Design

    Goal 6: Convert Reactors to Reduce the Use of HEU and Complete Down-Blending Operations

    Goal 7: Implement INFCIRC / 225 / Rev.5

    Goal 8: Integrating Response Forces into Dealing with Theft and Sabotage at Facilities

    Goal 9: Joint Study on Management of HEU and Plutonium: Reduction of Material Attractiveness

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/27/united-states-japan-nuclear-security-working-group-fact-sheet

  38. March 27, 2012

    Joint Statement on Transport Security

    1. In the principal communiqué here at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, all participants reaffirm their commitment to the security of civil transport of nuclear and radioactive materials as follows:

    We will continue efforts to enhance the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials while in domestic and international transport, and encourage States to share best practices and cooperate in acquiring the necessary technologies to this end. Recognizing the importance of a national layered defense against the loss or theft of nuclear and other radioactive materials, we encourage the establishment of effective national nuclear material inventory management and domestic tracking mechanisms, where required, that enable States to take appropriate measures to recover lost and stolen materials.

    2. We the participating countries, namely France, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan to this additional statement on transport security, express our further commitment to the followings:

    1) The participating countries in this basket will hold working group meetings to address the transport security issues amongst the representatives of the governments and relevant international organisations with the participation of their officials and researchers;

    (a) for effective implementation of INFRCIC/225/Rev.5
    (b) for building close relationship among relevant agencies and Centres of Excellence(CoE) to strengthen transport security
    (c) for development and research of equipment by related industries, relevant agencies and COE.

    2) The first working group meeting will be held in Japan by 2013.

    3) The participating countries in this basket may consider organizing training exercises, including table-top exercises for strengthened emergency preparedness.

    4) Based upon exercises, a proposal will be submitted at the third Nuclear Security Summit, which should lead to the strengthened transport security.

    5) This basket group should invite security-related officials from the IMO, ICAO and IAEA for these discussions.

  39. April 01, 2012

    President Obama’s Final Intervention at the end of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit

    Seoul, Republic of Korea

    Mr. President.

    This will be very brief. I just want to, again, congratulate you for the outstanding work that you and your team have done in setting up this Summit.

    When we first set up the summit in Washington, I think there was still some uncertainty as to how productive, how collaborative, these efforts would be. And the test obviously was whether we would see concrete deliverables and whether the participants in that first Summit would appear here in Korea, with not just words but deeds.

    I just want to say how extraordinarily proud I am of all the leaders who participated, but also their teams who have engaged in a great deal of work over the last two years, in all sorts of ways, to create a safer world.

    And to the leaders, in particular, I just want to mention the fact that I know it is very difficult for us to travel to these Summits. All of us have too many Summits to attend as it is in addition to the work that we do back home. But I would just point out that this relatively modest investment of our time is the forcing mechanism that allows our teams to do all the work leading up to these Summits. So I look forward to being in the Netherlands but I want to just encourage everybody to continue to take this with the utmost seriousness because I believe that we will meet the goal that we set two years ago that in four years’ time we will have made a significant leap with respect to the issue of nuclear security.

    And I was talking to Prime Minister Monti of Italy about the fact that some of these changes, some of the initiatives that we have all taken, each of them seem like a small step but they add up to a significant shift. And the risks that we are addressing are relatively remote compared to some of the other challenges that we face day to day.

    But in economics, there is the term ‘black swans’, the event that happens that may not happen very often, but when it happens it is a big, big problem. And as John Key mentioned, this is one of those issues that IF, heaven forbid, we ever saw one of our cities anywhere in the world, impacted by nuclear terrorism, it would fundamentally change, I think, our lives in ways that we cannot even imagine.

    So, I just want to encourage everybody to stay with this, because two years from now, I think we will be able to look back and have reduced the risks that much more in a way that will benefit all of us over the long term and the investment is relatively small at least for us. I can say the same for all the excellent teams who have done so much work.

    Thank you again, Mr. President, for your outstanding leadership in this conference.

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