U.S. president Barack Obama began a week of international travel on Monday, arriving in the Netherlands for the start of the Nuclear Security Summit. The biannual meeting opened with Japan's announcement that it would turn over its nuclear stockpile to the United States (NYT). The crisis in Ukraine, however, is expected to overshadow the official agenda on nuclear terrorism. G7 members will meet on the summit's sidelines to discuss economic aid to Ukraine. Ukraine on Monday ordered the withdrawal of its forces from Crimea after Russian troops overran a base there, following NATO commander General Philip Breedlove's warning that Russian forces may move into the eastern part of the country (FT). Meanwhile, the summit offers Obama the opportunity to maintain relations with foreign leaders: he is slated to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Monday, and on Tuesday with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean president Park Geun-hye, two U.S. allies among whom relations have been strained (AP).
"Russia's provocative actions in Crimea and the deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations certainly make the pursuit of a cooperative agenda even more challenging and there is more than a theoretical danger of backsliding. Yet, even in the darkest days of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union shared a common interest in reducing nuclear risks and found ways to overcome ideological differences to pursue joint initiatives and agreements designed to reduce those risks and strengthen strategic stability," writes the Arms Control Association.
"Mr. Obama deserves praise for initiating the biannual nuclear summits in 2010. But the process has reached mainly for low-hanging fruit. A more worthy goal would be the worldwide elimination of highly enriched uranium for reactor fuel, which could sharply reduce risks of nuclear proliferation and terrorism," writes Alan J. Kuperman and Frank N. von Hippel in the New York Times.
"Governments can no longer act in isolation, as though nuclear security were exclusively a 'sovereign' responsibility. States depend on one another for their nuclear security, and they can be deeply affected by other states' actions. The weakest link in the security chain threatens everyone, and that means a system is needed to identify and strengthen the weak links – a system in which states take steps to build confidence in – and accountability for – their security performance," writes Joan Rohlfing for Project Syndicate.
NSA Breached Chinese Servers
The U.S. National Security Agency created back doors into the networks of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, allowing it access to the firm's own data as well as that of nations to whom it sold equipment, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden (NYT).