Monday, April 19, 2010

Nuclear Security Summit Fails To Give Participants Enough Room for Discussion

The so called two-day Nuclear Security Summit, held in Washington recently, aimed to discuss nuclear weapon and nuclear material control and management hosted by the United States was but a venue used by President Barack Obama to express his view. There were no vigorous discussions among the participants and the conclusion of the Summit has already pre decided before the Summit began.

Most of the heads of states and senior officials from 47 countries who flew into the United States from far away land were not given the opportunity to say more words. The Nuclear Security Summit ended without giving participants enough room for discussion.

Platform for President Obama
This was not but another Obama Show. Except for Chinese President Hu Jintao who was granted more time to express his view, other participating head of states have given outsiders an impression that they rushed to the United States just to listen to President Obama's instruction. The moment President Obama finished all that he wanted to say, this round of international conference on a serious topic was considered done.

In this regard, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has the foresightedness than other international participants. He used the excuse of being too busy with the general election and declined to accept the invitation to attend the Nuclear Security Summit. While we can say Gordon Brown is indeed busy with electoral affairs, but it was also a smart side of him to use such an excuse to avoid listening to President Obama's lecture.

Among the international participants, the national leader who encountered a sense of loss was the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. He was given a cold shoulder by President Obama even before the Nuclear Security Summit began. When Hatoyama arrived in Washington, DC his scheduled meeting with President Obama was listed as the least important one among other heads of states that President Obama scheduled to meet.

The meeting between Obama and Hu Jintao lasted more than an hour with discussion covering US-China trade and Iran's nuclear weapon development suspicion. This meeting with Hu Jintao has reflected the reality that President Obama did value China and the presence of Hu at the Summit.

Obama-Hatoyama Meeting
However, President Obama's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama only lasted for ten minutes. The Japanese media described this Obama-Hatoyama meeting was but hand shaking, greetings and photo taking session. President Obama has clearly indicated to the Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama his attitude that between them, there was nothing to talk about. It was a rare sight in US-Japan diplomatic relations that happened in an important international event such as the Nuclear Security Summit. The underlying causes could be due the fact that back in Japan the high support rate of the Hatoyama government has dropped to a level when there are more opposing voices than supporting voices.

In addition to this political dilemma, on diplomatic front, the Japan under the Hatoyama Government has also shown its intention to keep a distance away from the United States. We believe President Obama has no intention to undermine the close friendship between Japan and the United States. The intention of President Obama is that instead of spending time to talk to the present Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama, he would rather wait until the next Japanese prime minister emerges and takes office to discuss serious stuff with Japan.

Advantage for South Korea
Hatoyama suffered even more cruel treatment during this visit to the United States when President Obama announced that the next Nuclear Security Summit to be held two years later would be presided by the Republic of Korea and not Japan. This announcement allowed South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to radiant with delight.
President Obama's choice of South Korea as the next Summit venue has allowed South Korea to enjoy the glory of handling this diplomatic event. However, at the same time, it has also reflected the political reality that President Obama has indeed given Hatayama an unfriendly or a rather rude diplomatic treatment.

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