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Yudhoyono sees Seoul summit as 'golden opportunity' to ensure nuclear security

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said next week's global nuclear summit in Seoul will present world leaders with a "golden opportunity" to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism and make the world a safer place for this generation and the next.

In an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Saturday at his presidential office, Yudhoyono also voiced support for calls for the United Nations nuclear watchdog to have a stronger role in better preventing nuclear crises. Next week's summit in Seoul should address the issue of global nuclear security architecture, he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama hosted the inaugural summit in 2010 to bolster international safeguards and prevent nuclear terrorism.

The Seoul summit is the second of its kind, with representatives from 58 countries and international organizations, including some 48 heads of state, scheduled to attend.

"The second Nuclear Security Summit is important because it addresses nuclear security -- an issue that poses a threat to the well-being of all humankind," Yudhoyono said, days before he heads to Seoul to attend the summit.

He said the challenge would become "more serious" if loose nuclear materials fall into the hands of smugglers and extremists seeking to create a dirty bomb.

"Therefore, the second summit would be a golden opportunity for us not only to address but also to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring nuclear security," Yudhoyono said.

Another key topic at the Seoul summit will be ways to strengthen global atomic safety following Japan's nuclear disaster last March.

In the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, calls have grown for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out more stringent inspections and for better cooperation and crisis management among nuclear regulators around the world.

The potential threat of nuclear terrorism was highlighted by the Fukushima disaster because it showcased the extent of potential damage if terrorists were to sabotage key systems of a nuclear power plant such as a power supply or cooling system, experts said.

"It is important to strengthen and enhance complementarities among nuclear security activities and organizations," Yudhoyono said. "The central role of the IAEA must be enhanced," Yudhoyono said.

Asked about the state of bilateral cooperation between South Korea and Indonesia, Yudhoyono replied, "excellent," saying he has a "good personal rapport" with President Lee Myung-bak.

Over the past seven years, two-way trade volume has tripled to

US$29 billion, said Yudhoyono, who assumed the office in 2004 and was re-elected in 2009.

"To further improve relations between our two countries, I think we need to expand cooperation in trade and investment to reach our trade target of $40 billion by 2014," he said.

Indonesia is a key economic partner for South Korea, especially in the defense industry. Last year, the country signed a contract to buy South Korean T-50 trainer jets, also known as "Golden Eagles." The deal marked the first time for South Korea to export the supersonic jets.

The two nations also agreed in 2010 to jointly develop a fighter jet.

"One of the cooperative efforts that I am particularly looking forward to realizing is the development of the 4.5-generation joint fighter jet," Yudhoyono said, adding the joint project is currently "in the technical and engineering phase." (Yonhap News)



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